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Full text of "The Newberry Memorial Organ at Yale University : a study in the history of American organ building"

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1930 



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LIBRARY OF 
WELLESLEY COLLEGE 




GIFT OF 

HOWARD HIHKEKS 



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The 
Newberry Memorial Organ 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2012 with funding from 
Wellesley College Library 



http://archive.org/details/newberrymemorialOOflin 




The 1928 Case 



The 



Newberry Memorial Organ 

at Yale University 

A Study in the History of 
American Organ Building 



By 

Edward W. Flint 




New Haven • Yale University Press 

London: Humphrey Milford: Oxford University Press 

1930 



Copyright 1930 by Yale University Press 
Printed in the United States of America 



Mu^ l 'V 



JsMs 



To 

Carl Friedrich Pfatteicher 

Organist of Phillips Academy Andover 



Contents 

The Hutchings-Votey Specification, 1902 9 

The Hutchings-Votey Instrument of 1902 13 

The Steere Specification, 1 9 1 5 25 

The Steere Instrument of 1 9 1 5 31 

The Skinner Specification, 1928 41 

The Skinner Instrument of 1 92 8 49 



The Hutchings-Votey Specification, 1902 







Great Organ 




16' 


Diapason 


Metal 


61 Pipes 


8' 


Diapason I 


Metal 


61 Pipes 


8' 


Diapason II 


Metal 


61 Pipes 


8' 


Diapason III 


Metal 


61 Pipes 


4' 


Octave 


Metal 


61 Pipes 


2%' 


Twelfth 


Metal 


61 Pipes 


1' 


Fifteenth 


Metal 


61 Pipes 


V 


Mixture 


Metal 


305 Pipes 


16' 


Quintaton 


Wood 


61 Pipes 


8' 


Principal Flute 


Wood 


61 Pipes 


8' 


Doppel Flute 


Wood 


61 Pipes 


4' 


Wald Flute 


Wood 


61 Pipes 


8' 


Gross Gamba 


Metal 


61 Pipes 


8' 


Gemshorn 


Metal 


61 Pipes 


8' 


Viole d'Amour 


Metal 


61 Pipes 


4' 


Gambette 


Metal 


61 Pipes 


16' 


Trumpet 


Metal 


61 Pipes 


8' 


Trumpet 


Metal 


61 Pipes 


4' 


Clarion 


Metal 

Swell Organ 


61 Pipes 


8' 


Stentorphone 


Metal 


61 Pipes 


8' 


Diapason 


Metal 


61 Pipes 


4' 


Principal 


Metal 


61 Pipes 


V 


Dolce Cornet 


Metal 


305 Pipes 



IO 



The Newberry Memorial Organ 



1 6' 


Bourdon 


Wood 


6 1 Pipes 


8' 


Bourdon 


Wood 


6 1 Pipes 


8' 


Flauto Traverso 


Wood 


6 1 Pipes 


8' 


Quintadena 


Metal. 


6 1 Pipes 


4' 


Harmonic Flute 


Metal 


6 1 Pipes 


1 6' 


Gamba 


Metal 


6 1 Pipes 


8' 


Gamba 


Metal 


6 1 Pipes 


8' 


Voix Celestes 


Metal 


6 1 Pipes 


8' 


Salicional 


Metal 


6 1 Pipes 


8' 


Aeoline 


Metal 


6 1 Pipes 


4' 


Violina 


Metal 


6 1 Pipes 


16' 


Posaune 


Metal 


6 1 Pipes 


8' 


Cornopean 


Metal 


6 1 Pipes 


8' 


Oboe 


Metal 


6 1 Pipes 


8' 


Vox Humana 


Metal 


6 1 Pipes 



Choir Organ 



1 6' 


Contra Dulciana 


Metal 


6 1 Pipes 


8' 


Diapason 


Metal 


6 1 Pipes 


8' 


Dulciana 


Metal 


6 1 Pipes 


8' 


Melodia 


Wood 


6 1 Pipes 


8' 


Lieblich Gedeckt 


Wood 


6 1 Pipes 


4' 


Flauto Traverso 


Wood 


6 1 Pipes 


2' 


Piccolo Harmonique 


Metal 


6 1 Pipes 


8' 


Violoncello 


Wood 


6 1 Pipes 


8' 


Viole d'Orchestre 


Metal 


6 1 Pipes 


8' 


Violes Celestes III 


Metal 


no Pipes 


4' 


Viola 


Metal 


6 1 Pipes 


1 6' 


Contra Fagotto 


Metal 


6 1 Pipes 


8' 


Clarinet 


Metal 


6 1 Pipes 



The Hutchings-Votey Specification, 1902 11 







Solo Organ 




8' 


Dolce 




Metal 


61 Pipes 


8' 


Tibia Plena 




Metal 


61 Pipes 


8' 


Gross Flute 




Wood 


61 Pipes 


4' 


Hohlpfeife 




Wood 


61 Pipes 


8' 


Tuba Sonora 




Metal 


61 Pipes 


8' 


Orchestral Oboe 


Metal 


61 Pipes 






Pedal 


Organ 




64' 


Gravissima 




Resultant 


32 Notes 


32 , -i6-8' 


Diapason II 




Wood 


56 Pipes 


i6'-8' 


Diapason I 




Wood 


44 Pipes 


16' 


Dulciana 




Metal 


32 Pipes 


4' 


Super Octave 




Metal 


32 Pipes 


32'-i6'-8' 


Bourdon 




Wood 


$6 Pipes 


16' 


Lieblich Gedeckt (Sw.) 


Wood 


32 Notes 


4' 


Flute 




Wood 


32 Pipes 


32' 


Contra Bass 




Resultant 


32 Notes 


i6'-8' 


Violone 




Wood 


44 Pipes 


i6'-8' 


Bombard 




Metal 


44 Pipes 


16' 


Contra Fagotto (Ch.) 


Metal 


32 Notes 






Notes 




Pipes— 4354 








Stops — 76 











The Hutchings-Votey Instrument of 1902 

THE history of the Newberry Memorial Organ at Yale 
University is in essence a history of American tonal de- 
sign. Built originally by the Hutchings-Votey Company 
in 1902, rebuilt by Steere & Son in 19 15, and enlarged 
and tonally reconditioned by the Skinner Company in 
1928, the organ at each period of its existence has ex- 
emplified American building at its best. Although the course of tonal design 
from 1900 to 1925 may be questioned, the organ has done exceptional credit 
to its builders when judged by the standards of their respective periods, and 
has shown of what they were capable when free from financial pressure and 
aided by sound musical counsel. 

In 1 90 1 Yale received from its alumni and other friends gifts of funds 
to be used for the erection of a group of buildings commemorating the bi- 
centennial anniversary of the founding of the University. It was planned 
that one of these buildings should be an auditorium named to honor Theo- 
dore D wight Woolsey, President of Yale from 1846 to 1871, and the corner 
stone was laid November 21, 1901. Upon the completion of the fund for the 
Bicentennial Buildings, Mrs. Helen Handy Newberry of Detroit presented 
to the University a gift for an organ to be placed in Woolsey Hall in memory 
of her husband, John Stoughton Newberry. 

It is significant of the position taken by the donor and by the University 
that the original contract for the organ, like the succeeding ones, was not 
made an object of competitive bidding. In each instance the Newberry family 
made the gift unconditionally. Professor Sanf ord and Professor Jepson, of 
the University, awarded the contracts solely on the ground of merit j and, 
having drawn the specifications after consultation with the builders, intrusted 
the builders with the execution of technical details. The wisdom of such a 
policy is evident. 

In September, 1901, the Hutchings-Votey Company of Boston was en- 



14 The Newberry Memorial Organ 

gaged to build the instrument which became the company's most famous 
organ, and which has remained one of the outstanding organs of America. 
This company was one of five which bore the name of Hutchings. George S. 
Hutchings began building under his own name about 1875. Several years 
later he entered a partnership, and his organs bore the name of Hutchings- 
Plaisted. This firm was succeeded by George S. Hutchings and Company, 
and this in turn by the Hutchings-Votey Company about 1900. It was as a 
member of this firm that Hutchings built his largest instruments. A financial 
panic in 1907 brought an untimely end to this organization, and Hutchings 
himself was never again active in organ building. In spite of these many 
reorganizations the integrity of Hutchings as a man has never been ques- 
tioned. He was not endowed with great business acumen, and in several in- 
stances this shortcoming was taken advantage of by the unscrupulous. On 
many occasions he used his private funds to correct defects which were not 
subject to the terms of a contract, but which fell short of his own standards. 
His conscientiousness and fine craftsmanship, and withal his character as a 
gentleman, secure him an honored place in the small company of builders 
who have placed a love of craft before a concern for livelihood. 

Fortunately for Hutchings and his successors at Yale the architects of 
Woolsey Hall had no dramatic requirements to meet in designing the stage, 
and for once the needs of an organ were not sacrificed to those of a theater. 
Even so, the swell and solo chambers are too remote and the lateral case 
work does not allow ample egress of tone. The central chamber is 40 feet 
high, 80 feet wide, and 10 feet deep. The walls are of brick and are sized 
to prevent the absorption of sound and moisture ; the ceilings are parabolic 
and are similarly sized. The passageways are ample ; large-scale basses stand 
off on separate chests j the main pedal organ is spread across the central 
chamber so that each stop speaks out unobstructed by the others. Still more 
important than the lateral spacing of these stops is the shallowness of the 
central chamber, which prevents tone from receding into traps and pockets 
and reflects it directly into the Hall. The organ might have been crowded 
into two-thirds of its present space, but such constriction would inevitably 
have caused smothered pipes, forced winding, and consequently less refined 
tone. The Hall is 126 feet long from the organ front to the back wall on the 



The Hutchings-Votey Instrument of 1902 15 

floor level, 93 feet wide, 56 feet high ; and the furnishings are, on the whole, 
favorable to sound. The chairs are of woodj there is little carpeting j the 
window hangings are light in weight and firmly woven 5 and the ceiling is 
arched. When empty, the Hall has a resonance of four seconds j when full, 
this is reduced to two. 

The development of action in America has been a rapid one. Until the 
middle of the nineteenth century tracker action and slider chests were used 
by all American builders, but during the next two decades the principles of 
pneumatic action were developed and perfected to such an extent that tracker 
action was definitely supplanted in all but very small instruments. The first 
step in this development was the use of a pressure pneumatic to open the 
pallet of the slider chest. Coupling was still done by the traditional sticker 
or drumstick mechanism, which was placed beyond the pneumatic so that 
the key had a uniform resistance. The disadvantages of this action were its 
sluggishness when couplers were drawn and the inevitable noise of the 
trackers. A later refinement was introduced by the invention of the exhaust 
pneumatic which acted more quickly, since the maximum power of the 
pneumatic was brought into play when the pallet offered the greatest resist- 
ance — namely, at the attack. One of the earliest American applications of the 
exhaust pneumatic lever appeared in the Hook and Hastings organ installed 
in the Cincinnati Music Hall in 1878. The next radical innovation was the 
invention of the pneumatic chest in which each pipe was supplied with wind 
by a separate valve. To Roosevelt belongs the credit for establishing this 
chest in America. The elimination of sliders marked an important advance, 
for the variable climate made sticking sliders and running pipe wind inevi- 
table in spite of fine workmanship and the best of wood. When first intro- 
duced, the pneumatic chest was built with a ventil stop action 5 but it was 
later improved by the use of pitman valves which intercepted the action wind 
before it reached the pipe valve pneumatics, but allowed the pipe wind to 
remain in the chest at all times. The various types of the pneumatic chest 
were controlled at first by a single tracker key action, but later by a tubular 
action, and eventually by the electro-pneumatic action that is now all but 
universal in America. The use of the pitman stop action in conjunction with 
pipe valves mounted directly under the table marked a considerable advance, 



1 6 The Newberry Memorial Organ 

for it insured a stop action which was positive and prompt enough to permit 
the most rapid registration ; it eliminated the unsteady wind and noise which 
in varying degrees had accompanied the ventil and slider actions ; and its 
construction was so efficient and simple that it has since been adopted by the 
majority of American builders. 

When Hutchings began building about 1875, he used tracker action, but 
the size of his instruments soon led him to adopt the tracker pneumatic (e.g. 
the South Congregational Church, Middletown, Connecticut, 1885) and 
about 1890 to use tubular action (e.g. the Edwards Church, Northampton, 
Massachusetts). The major part of Hutchings' work was built with one or 
another of these systems, and had it not been for the initiative of certain of 
his men, it is possible that he would never have attempted electric action. In 
1893 Ernest M. Skinner, who was then draftsman in the Hutchings factory, 
designed the first electric action that Hutchings built. This organ was in- 
stalled in St. Bartholomew's, New York City. This first action proved un- 
reliable, but two years later was successfully reconstructed by the company 
according to Skinner's design with a different type of magnet. After Skinner 
set up for himself in 1901, the Hutchings electric action was designed by 
Harry Van Wart, and it was under his supervision that the Newberry Organ 
was built in 1902. Other notable Hutchings organs of this period were those 
in the Parkhurst Church and Broadway Tabernacle, New York City; the 
Second Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia ; and the First Presbyterian 
Church, Pittsburgh. During the installation of the Pittsburgh instrument in 
1907 the company failed. 

Though the Woolsey Hall chest action was electro-pneumatic, it contained 
in a modified form the mechanical backfall on which all tracker action de- 
pended. The pipe pneumatic and pipe valve were both mounted on the bar — 
or in the case of a single stop chest, on the top board — and were connected by 
a lever and fulcrum so that when the pneumatic was exhausted toward the 
bar, the valve was drawn away from it and the wind allowed to enter the pipe 
channel. This action was quick and reliable, but it was expensive to make and 
difficult to renew when the leather became porous, and with wear it became 
somewhat noisy. It remained for Hutchings' successors to eliminate the 
backfall altogether by attaching the valve to the pneumatic itself and mount- 



The Hutchings-Votey Instrument of 1902 17 

ing them opposite the bar on a separate board. Thus, when the pneumatic was 
inflated, the valve was seated on the bar ; when deflated, the pneumatic drew 
the valve with it away from the bar and allowed the pipe to speak. 

The Woolsey Hall combination action was blind and adjustable from a 
recorder board. The shutters of the swell organ were made in two sets, 
placed one behind the other, and were controlled by levers connected directly 
to the pedals at the console. One marked survival of an earlier period was 
the position of the console, which stood at the back of the stage directly under 
the organ. Tracker and sometimes tubular action required that the console 
be built into the organ proper, but where electric action was available there 
was no reason for placing the organist where he could neither hear the in- 
strument nor see the conductor of an orchestra. 

Another survival from the period of tracker action was the stop action con- 
trol. The normal stop control was by pitman action, but in 1902 this action 
was not thought entirely reliable and as a precaution against ciphering the 
stops were also provided with ventils which were brought into action by 
pushing in the knobs beyond their normal off positions. 

The Newberry Organ, as built in 1902, represented Hutchings' tonal 
ideas in a state of transition. The organs built in his earlier period are fast 
disappearing, but by comparing the instruments which are extant and allow- 
ing for the deterioration of age it is possible to reconstruct imaginatively the 
style of voicing which characterized American building until 1900. Specifica- 
tions were almost invariably designed with the diapason chorus as the corner 
stone. The pressure of the diapason work averaged about 3^2 inches- the 
scaling was medium ; the mouths fairly wide and low cutj and the tone 
slightly slow in speech and well developed in harmonic upper partials. Above 
this foundation was built a superstructure of mixture work which was gen- 
erally well scaled but poorly designed as to breaks and frequently voiced 
with too bold tierces. In certain cases the mixture work ran to continental 
proportions. An example of this was the Hook and Hastings organ built 
for the Cincinnati Music Hall in 1878, which was one of the outstanding 
instruments of its time and which had twenty ranks of mixture work in a 
great organ of twenty-two stops. The effects of much tuning make it difficult 
to judge of such mixtures. Many of the instruments which survive sound 



1 8 The Newberry Memorial Organ 

more like a chorus of salicionals than of diapasons, but an occasional rare ex- 
ample proves that these early American craftsmen had an elementary con- 
ception of the ensemble which comes from blending natural and artificial 
harmonics, and which on both historical and aesthetic grounds is justly 
termed classic. It is these few exhilarating diapason choruses that lead one to 
attribute the sorry condition of many nineteenth-century organs to long usage 
and neglect rather than to question the historical distinction of their builders. 
The reed work of this early period was also voiced on low pressure. It 
seldom exceeded 4 inches ; and, since the tongues were thin and the tone in- 
variably poignant, voicers obtained a blend with the diapason chorus which 
was imperfect and uneven, but as a type, true. Flutes at this time were little 
developed as solo stops j doppel flutes were popular, but their scales were not 
large and because of their low pressure the tone was not obtrusive in the 
ensemble. Strings in the modern sense of the word were scarcely known. 
Salicionals and viol da gambas were the common examples of the viol f amily ; 
both were slow in speech and somewhat unsteady. The gambas, however, 
blended perfectly with either flutes or diapasons. The ensemble produced 
by this voicing was on the whole well balanced, but the blend fell short of 
perfection. This was generally due to the low pressure, spluttering reeds 
which marred an otherwise lucid ensemble, and it was this quarter in which 
innovations were first made and through which the entire tonal structure 
of American building was revolutionized. The year 1895 may be taken as 
the high-water mark of the light-pressure ensemble which appeared at its 
best either before or at that time in the work of Hook and Hastings, Hutch- 
ings, Johnson, Odell, and Roosevelt. It is a style which lies close to that 
described by Schweitzer in his work on Bach and his prefaces to the Widor- 
Schweitzer edition of the Bach organ work. Speaking of Silbermann's work, 
he writes: 

... on such an instrument the diapasons and mixtures give a forte so rich, intense, 
full colored, and yet in no wise fatiguing, that we can if need be, preserve it un- 
changed throughout a prelude or fugue. 

And in the preface to Volume I of the organ works, he says: 

The old reed pipes did not speak so readily as ours, which detracted from their 



The Hutchings-Votey Instrument of 1902 19 

usefulness as solo stops. But on the other hand, they possessed a lighter, broader tone 
which blended ravishingly with that of the foundation stops and mixtures. The full 
organ of the old instruments was finer than that of ours, being clearer, warmer, and 
more pellucid, and wholly without burdensome or oppressive effect. . . . Organ 
builders and organ players of discernment had already perceived that the dull shrill 
tone which results from too narrow a scale and too high wind pressure, and which 
robs the foundation stops, mixtures, and reeds of their fine penetrative effect, is not 
suitable for setting forth the polyphony of Bach's works. ... In both the preludes 
and fugues the blending of foundation stops and mixtures is to be considered as the 
fundamental timbre. 

This early American tonal work was by no means identical with that of 
Silbermann, but Schweitzer's description indicates that the style of both 
schools was a similar one. 

When Hutchings built the Newberry Organ in 1902, the low-pressure 
school of voicing was beginning to disintegrate. The new style was not then a 
definitive one, and could be characterized only as having weaker trebles, 
fewer mixtures, more diapasons, flutes of much larger scale, reeds of in- 
creased pressure and somewhat smoother intonation, and the introduction 
of a solo division. The following notes which appeared on the inaugural 
program at Woolsey Hall, June 20, 1903, indicate the direction which 
American building was taking. 

The salient points which will attract attention of the organ student are the large 
number of foundation stops in 32-foot, 16-foot, and 8-foot registers, the limited 
number of mutation and compound stops on the manuals, and extraordinary prepon- 
derance of pedal organ with its wealth of 64-foot, 32-foot, and 16-foot tone. . . . 
The radical departure in the composition of the specification as compared with organs 
of twenty-five years ago is readily recognized, there being only ten ranks of mixture 
or mutation pipes as compared with forty-one of a similar nature in a specimen organ 
of the former period. 

As in most American instruments of this period only the great and swell 
had any corporate character. The traditional great diapason chorus remained 
nominally intact, though three 8 -foot diapasons properly require two 4-foot 
octaves and two mixtures. In point of fact, however, this chorus was already 
impaired by the timidity of the trebles and the mixture 5 and, while the 



20 The Newberry Memorial Organ 

voicing of the diapasons was carried out in the traditional manner on \ x /i- 
inch wind, the relative weakness of the upper work accentuated the weight 
of the unison registers. Moreover, the presence of a large-scale, somewhat 
windy, wooden flute in addition to the conventional doppel flute helped 
thicken the foundation work, and the group of four strings was not of a 
character to improve either the blend or the balance of the division. The 
chorus reeds were fortunately voiced with the old open free tone, and 
blended as far as the mixture permitted with the flue work. The pressure 
was also 4^ -inch and they were relatively free from the unevenness which 
characterized those on lower pressure. 

The swell ensemble, voiced on 4-inch wind, was that of a clouded flue 
foundation, enriched by a pair of strings and a pair of moderately assertive 
reeds. The diapasons were amply scaled, but were devoid of much harmonic 
development, and the octave was but a diminutive stop of the same character. 
The mixture, though of five ranks, was a dolce cornet, and had little value 
in the full swell. The strings were typical examples of the period. Mordant 
tone was then coming to be regarded as a separate family, capable of imitat- 
ing orchestral violins ; and though such voicing was far from its present 
precision, these stops had been individualized enough to prevent them from 
blending perfectly with the diapasons and flutes. The voicing of the corno- 
pean was more like that of trumpets than of horns j and, as late nineteenth- 
century voicing went, was not very different from a large-scale oboe. It was 
supported by a 1 6-foot posaune that added weight rather than brilliance to 
the swell ensemble. From the point of view of modern tonal design, the most 
distinctive feature of the swell was the absence of a clarion. This omission 
was a common one in America until 1920, and it marks a major point of 
difference from English tonal design, which for more than half a century 
has conceived the swell division as based on an ensemble of chorus reeds. 

The choir organ consisted of a group of accompanimental stops, plus a 
few imitative reeds and strings. In no sense was it a division subsidiary to the 
great. The diapason group was as far as it went a good foundation for a 
choir organ ; but, devoid of upper work and clouded by two dull-toned 8- 
f oot flutes, it was impotent to give the choir any distinctive ensemble charac- 
ter. The violoncello was a medium-voiced string stop made of wood through- 



The Hutchings-Votey Instrument of 1902 21 

out, and supplemented by a useful 4-foot viola. The contra fagotto and 
clarinet represented the conception of the choir organ as a diminutive solo 
division. 

It is a significant fact in the history of organ building that as the number 
of manuals increased beyond two, the additional divisions, which at first con- 
sisted of a few solo stops, soon came to have a distinctive ensemble which 
could be set against that of the first and second manuals and which usually 
made itself heard in the full organ. In the eighteenth-century organ of the 
Couperin's, which is still preserved at St. Gervais, the third manual contains 
only a 16-foot bombard 3 the fourth, which is the recit, contains a hautbois 
8 -foot and a cornet V; and the fifth, which is the echo, contains a flute 8- 
foot and a trompette 8 -foot. In England, at Bath Abbey, W. Hill and Son 
provided a fourth manual for the sake of a single-tuba mirabilis, and in 1896 
at the South Congregational Church, New Britain, Connecticut, Hutchings 
made the same provision for a unit tuba. The Newberry Organ of 1902 be- 
longed to the period when the solo was still undeveloped. The tibia plena 
was really a large-scale stentorphone, voiced on 22-inch wind, cut high and 
leathered, and was accompanied by a large, open flute of wood yielding a 
strong, and somewhat windy fundamental, tone. The hohlpfeife was an 
octave doppel flute and a fitting complement to the unison flutes. The dolce 
was too soft to be heard with any other solo stops, and the orchestral oboe 
was not calculated to blend with the rest of the division. The tuba sonora was 
a double-tongued reed, 10 inches in diameter at the top of the CC pipe, and, 
like the tibia and gross flute, spoke on 22-inch wind. The value of such a solo 
division in full organ was slight ; at the most it could only strengthen the al- 
ready too pronounced unison pitch of the foundation work; and, lacking 
any harmonic structure, and therefore tonal richness, it was in no sense com- 
mensurate with the other divisions. 

The specification of the pedal organ was not very different from that of 
many other instruments comparable in size. Circumstances seldom permit 
the American builder so spacious a chamber, and the pedal organ at Woolsey 
Hall proves that whatever the size of an organ, tonal excellence is better 
achieved from fewer pipes well spaced and properly winded, than from 
many pipes which are crowded and forced. The 32-foot diapason was derived 



22 The Newberry Memorial Organ 

from the second diapason of 1 6-foot pitch, thus allowing the large-scale 
first diapason to dominate the pedal organ at 1 6-foot pitch. The difference 
between the two ranks was one of power rather than timbre ; a metal stop 
for the second would have been preferable as standing between the funda- 
mental tone of the first and the rich mordant timbre of the 1 6-foot violone. 
The 1 6-foot pedal dulciana was an independent pedal rank, but would have 
been more valuable had it been extended to 8-foot and 4-foot pitch and 
placed in one of the swell boxes. It was an implicit assumption of the de- 
signers that the pedal would derive sufficient 8 -foot and 4-foot tone through 
the manual-to-pedal couplers. There was indeed a 4-foot super octave j but 
the 8 -foot octave, derived from the first 16-foot diapason, was not bright 
enough to support it; and the gedeckt, like the dulciana, should have been 
carried up to 4-foot pitch. Pedal-mixture work was not even considered, but 
the paucity of upper work in the pedal was generally consistent with the 
style of tonal design. The assumption that upper work is not needed in the 
pedal is still generally made in America, where the contrapuntal style has 
seldom been regarded with more than perfunctory respect. 

The general character of the Newberry Organ in 1902 was more a modifi- 
cation of the traditional light-pressure ensemble than a distinctly new concep- 
tion of tonal design. The diminutive character of the upper work was 
partially compensated for by the moderate richness of the unison diapasons. 
By drawing the brighter of these registers with the poignant reeds of the 
great and swell, and excluding the more assertive flutes and strings, it was 
possible to build up an ensemble which was not oppressive and which per- 
mitted a plausible interpretation of contrapuntal music. However preferable 
would have been a bolder treatment of upper work and a more thoroughly 
classic ensemble, the number of solo stops was not excessive nor was their 
voicing exaggerated. Why Hutchings permitted himself to modify the 
classic style of his early work is uncertain; personal preferences and general 
opinions in such matters are difficult to distinguish. It is certain, however, 
that an acute understanding of the role which contrapuntal music plays in 
organ literature would have attenuated even the mild compromise which he 
made, and would have made impossible the sorry backsliding which took 
place throughout America during the following decade. 



The Hutchings-Votey Instrument of 1902 23 

Woolsey Hall and the Newberry Memorial Organ were jointly dedicated, 
June 20, 1903. The order of exercises was as follows: 

I. Prayer. Rev. Timothy Dwight, D.D., LL.D., President of the University from 

1886-1899. 
II. Address. Hon. Simeon Eben Baldwin, LL.D., Professor of Constitutional Law, 
Corporations, and Wills in the University, and Judge of the Connecticut 
Supreme Court of Errors. 

III. Presentation of the Newberry Memorial Organ to the University. Samuel 

Simons Sanford, M.A., Professor of Applied Music in the University, and 
Chairman of the Committee on the Design, Construction, and Installation of 
the Organ. 

IV. Acceptance of the Organ on Behalf of the University and Transfer of the Keys 

to the University Organist, Professor Jepson. Arthur Twining Hadley, 
LL.D., President of the University. 
V. Musical Program. 

J. S. Bach, Fantasia and Fugue in G minor. 

Harry Benjamin Jepson, Mus.B., University Organist. 

J. S. Bach, Three Chorale Preludes. 

a. Komm Gott, Schopfer, Heiliger Geist. 

b. Wir glauben all' an einen Gott. 

c. In dulci Jubilo. 

C. M. Widor, Symphonie Romane, Opus 73. (Upon the Ecclesiastical Melody, 

Haec Dies Exultemus.) I. Moderato. II. Choral. IV. Final. 
Mr. Wallace Goodrich, Organist, Trinity Church, Boston. 
J. S. Bach, Prelude and Fugue in D minor. 
Cesar Franck, Grande Piece Symphonique. 

a. Andante serioso, Allegro non troppo e maestoso. 

b. Andante, Allegro, Andante. 

c. A la Fantasia, Finale. 

Mr. Gaston M. Dethier, Organist, St. Francis Xavier's Church, New York 
City. 
VI. Doxology. 



The Steere Specification, 19 15 



Great Organ. 10-inchwind 



1 6' 


Diapason 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Diapason I 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Diapason II 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Diapason III 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Diapason IV 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


4' 


Octave 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


2%' 


Twelfth 


Metal 


73 Pip es 


2' 


Fifteenth 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


V 


Mixture 


Metal 


365 Pipes 


16' 


Bourdon 


Wood 


73 Pip es 


8' 


Gross Flute 


Wood 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Clarabella 


Wood 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Doppel Flute 


Wood 


73 Pipes 


4' 


Wald Flute 


Wood 


73 Pipes 


4' 


Hohlpfeife 


Wood 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Gamba 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Gemshorn 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


4' 


Gambette 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


16' 


Bass Tuba (So.) 


Metal and Wood 








25" wind 


73 Notes 


8' 


Tuba (So.) 


Metal and Wood 








25" wind 


73 Notes 


8' 


Trumpet 


Metal 


97 Pipes 


4' 


Clarion 


Metal 


97 Pipes 



26 



The Newberry Memorial Organ 
Swell Organ, io-inchwind 



8' 


Stentorphone 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Diapason 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


4' 


Principal 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


III 


Solo Mixture 


Metal 


219 Pipes 


1 6' 


Bourdon 


Wood 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Tibia Plena 


Wood 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Flauto Traverso 


Wood 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Gedeckt 


Wood 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Quintadena 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


4' 


Harmonic Flute 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


2' 


Flautino 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


1 6' 


Gamba 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Gamba 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Voix Celestes III 


Metal 


134 Pipes 


8' 


Salicional 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Aeoline 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Unda Maris 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


4' 


Violina 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


1 6' 


Posaune 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Cornopean 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Oboe 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Vox Humana 


Metal — f winc i 


61 Pipes 



Choir Organ, io-inchwind 



16' 


Dulciana 


8' 
8' 


Diapason 
Dulciana 



Metal 


73 Pipes 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


Metal 


73 Pipes 



The Steere Specification, 191 5 



27 



8' 

8' 

4' 
2' 


Melodia 

Gedeckt 

Flute 

Piccolo Harmonique 


Wood 
Wood 
Wood 
Metal 


73 Pipes 

73 Pipes 
73 Pipes 
73 Pipes 


8' 

4' 


Violoncello 
Viola 


Wood 
Metal 


73 Pipes 
73 Pipes 


1 6' 
8' 


Fagotto 
Clarinet 


Metal 
Metal 


73 Pipes 
61 Pipes 




Orchestral Organ. 


10-inch wind 




8' 
8' 

4' 


Concert Flute 
Flute Celeste 
Flute a Cheminee 


Wood 
Wood 
Wood 


73 Pipes 
61 Pipes 
73 Pipes 


8' 
8' 
8' 
8' 
8' 


Viole d'Orchestre 
Viole d'Orchestre # 
Viole d'Orchestre ## 
Muted Viole 
Muted Viole # 


Metal 
Metal 
Metal 
Metal 
Metal 


73 Pipes 
73 Pipes 

73 Pipes 
73 Pipes 

73 Pipes 


8' 
8' 
8' 
8' 


Cor Anglais 
Clarinet 

Orchestral Oboe 
French Horn 


Metal 
Metal 
Metal 
Metal 


61 Pipes 
61 Pipes 
61 Pipes 
61 Pipes 




Echo Organ, ic 


>-inch wind 




8' 
8' 
8' 


Diapason 
Dulciana 
Vox Angelica 


Metal 
Metal 
Metal 


73 Pipes 
73 Pipes 

73 Pipes 


16' 

8' 

4' 


Bourdon 
Cor de Nuit 
Fernflote 


Wood 
Wood 
Wood 


73 Pipes 
73 Pipes 

73 Pipes 



28 


The Newt 


)erry Me 


morial Organ 




8' 


Viole d' Amour 




Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Oboe-Horn 




Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Trumpet 




Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Vox Humana 




Metal 


61 Pipes 




Solo Oi 


:gan. 25- 


■inch wind 




1 6' 


Diapason 




Wood 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Jepson Diapason 




Metal — II ranks 


146 Pipes 


8' 


Dolce 




Metal 


73 Pipes 


4' 


Octave 




Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Gross Flute 




Wood 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Tibia Clausa 




Wood 


73 Pipes 


4' 


Hohlpfeife 




Wood 


73 Pipes 


2' 


Piccolo 




Metal 


61 Pipes 


1 6' 


Viole 




Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Gross Gamba 




Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Gross Gamba Celeste 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


16' 


Tuba 




Wood and Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Tuba 




Wood and Metal 


1 2 Pipes 


8' 


French Trumpet 




Metal 


73 Pipes 


4' 


Tuba 




Wood and Metal 


1 2 Pipes 


8' 


Tuba Mirabilis, i 


uninclosed 


Metal and Wood 





20" wind 



73 pi pes 



Pedal Organ. 10-inch wind 



64' Gravissima 


Resultant 


32 Notes 


32'-i6 , -8' Diapason II 


Wood 


56 Pipes 


1 6'-8' Diapason I 


Wood 


44 Pipes 


1 6' Dulciana 


Metal 


32 Pipes 


4' Super Octave 


Metal 


32 Pipes 



The Steere Specification, 191 5 



29 



32 , -i6-8' 


Bourdon (Gt.) 


Wood 


1 2 Pipes 


1 6' 


Gedeckt (Sw.) 


Wood 


32 Notes 


4' 


Flute 


Wood 


32 Pipes 


32' 


Contra Bass 


Resultant 


32 Notes 


16-8' 


Violone 


Wood 


44 Pipes 


16' 


Gamba (Sw.) 


Metal 


32 Notes 


8' 


Violoncello (So.) 


Metal 


32 Notes 


32'-i6 , -8 / 


Bombard (So.) 


Wood and Metal 








20" wind 


24 Pipes 


i6'-8'-4' 


Tuba (So.) 


Wood and Metal 








25" wind 


56 Notes 


16' 


Fagotto (Ch.) 


Metal 


32 Notes 




Echo 


Pedal Organ 




i6'-8' 


Diapason 


Wood 


44 Pipes 


i6'-8' 


Bourdon (Ec.) 


Wood 


44 Notes 



Notes 

Pipes— 7353 

Stops — excluding duplexing and percussions — 120 

Orchestral duplexed on Swell and Choir 

Echo duplexed on Great and Solo 

Chimes playable on Great, Solo, and Pedal 

Harp playable on Swell and Choir 

Orchestral bells playable on Swell and Choir 



The Steere Instrument of 19 15 

FOR twelve years the Newberry Organ remained without radi- 
cal change as Hutchings left it in 1903. During these twelve 
years American mechanics and voicing had developed consid- 
erably, and in 1 9 1 5 members of the Newberry family, Mrs. 
Helen Newberry Joy, Mr. Truman Handy Newberry, and 
Mr. John Stoughton Newberry, made an additional gift for 
rebuilding the instrument. Professor Jepson drew the specification and on 
August 5, 19 1 5, the University entered into a contract with the J. W. Steere 
& Son Organ Company of Springfield, Massachusetts, to undertake the work. 
This company had as its chief designer Harry Van Wart, who had been with 
the Hutchings Company in 1902. It was because of his connection with the 
original instrument that the contract was awarded to the Steere Company, 
and he did his utmost to make the organ a masterpiece. From an immediate 
business point of view the organ was a liability to the builders. Greatly in- 
creased war prices and long and costly delays on the railroads had not been 
anticipated when the contract was signed, and the company lost heavily. Yet 
in spite of financial loss, the organ was completed with the same painstaking 
care with which it was begun. 

The craftsmanship of the 191 5 work has seldom been equaled. The in- 
terior structural work was both substantial and well finished. The manual 
chests were entirely newj they had a pitman stop action j the Hutchings 
backfall pneumatic was superseded by the pouch board j and since the ex- 
haust channeling was done in the solid top board, the bottom boards became 
mere bungs which ran parallel to the pitman bars. The swells were con- 
trolled by an individual shutter action which was quick though somewhat 
noisy. Each shutter was moved by large, square on and off pneumatics which 
were built in pairs with a common moving side and were actuated by contacts 
at the swell pedal so arranged that either one or the other pneumatic was 
always deflated. The combination action was blind like the previous Hutch- 



32 The Newberry Memorial Organ 

ings system j the setting was done from a recorder board ; switches were 
provided to cut out the stop knob action while the piston action was in use, 
and the entire pedal organ might be set on each manual piston without 
duplication and without borrowing from the independent pedal pistons. A 
spacious relay room 20' X 8' X 6' was built under the stage, and here were 
located the switches, the relays, and the combination feeders. The coupler 
switches were of the horizontal roller type, and the relay contact pneumatics 
worked on the exhaust principle. 

The Hutchings tonal work of 1902 had foreshadowed the course of 
American tonal design during the first quarter of the century.* Of this style 
the Steere instrument was an eminently fair example. The foundation work 
was strengthened as much as scales and pressures would permit 5 the mix- 
ture work was diminished to eight ranks ; solo stops were individualized 
to such an extent that they blended only by accident, if at all ; in general the 
disintegrating tendencies of style which first became evident in 1900 were 
developed to the point of exaggeration. The entering wedge which initiated 
this development was the introduction of high-pressure reed voicing which 
was thought to require a massive unison foundation of fundamental tone 
for its adequate support. The development of solo stops was from the first 
an effort to imitate the orchestra} and, however admirable these stops are 
-per se y the analogies which are used to justify their presence in an organ are 
in great measure specious. 

The most significant indication of the change made by the Steere Company 
was a general increase in pressure throughout the organ. The great, swell, 
and choir were raised to 10 inches; the solo which was almost entirely new 
was placed on 25-inch wind. The pedal bombard and solo tuba mirabilis were 
derived from a single rank, voiced on 20-inch wind, and the remainder of 
the pedal was raised to 10 inches. It is a fact often overlooked that the speak- 
ing pressure of the pipe at the flue is always less than the pressure in the 

* There was a similar trend in France during the nineteenth century. "Nous sommes loin, au 
debut du XIXe siecle, des vielles sonorites qui faisaient les delices d'un Titelouze. II n'est plus 
besoin de ces delicieuses tierces ou quartes de nazard de ces plein jeux eclaires . . ., ils ne font pas 
assez de bruit. . . . Le style, le gout des organists est alors identique au style et au gout de ceux 
qui sous Louis-Phillipe recherent le clinquant, la dorure, la decoration bourgeoise et grosse." Nor- 
bert-Dufourcq, "La Facture d'Orgues Moderne en France," La Revue Musicale, le i mars, 1929. 



The Steere Instrument of 1 9 1 5 33 

chest, and that by diminishing the supply at the toe the speaking pressure is 
correspondingly diminished. This is not to say that a change in chest pressure 
may always be compensated for by regulating the supply at the toe, for 
there are other factors involved in the speech of pipes, but it is true that high 
pressures have often been only nominal from the point of view of the voicer. 
Such was not the case with the chorus registers in the Steere work of 1915. 
The 1 o-inch pressure was generally taken advantage of, and when old pipes 
would not stand the increased pressure, they were cut up. The result of this 
practice was generally unfortunate. Increased power, to be sure, was ob- 
tained j but in the case of treble pipes the tone tended to become fluty; in the 
case of basses it was hard and overblown j in both cases the pipes were windy. 
The extent of this cutting up was most evident in the pedal. The 32-foot 
diapason was cut up from % to %; the 32-foot bourdon from % to %oj 
and the first 16-foot open diapason likewise from % to %. 

The great organ was supplemented by the addition of a new diapason 
which took the position of "first." This was a large-scale phonon stop, cut 
high and leathered. The tone was fundamental and ponderous and resembled 
a large tibia. To make room for this stop the three Hutchings diapasons were 
moved up to second, third, and fourth place, and to make use of the 1 0-inch 
pressure they were cut higher and thereby deprived of the moderate har- 
monic richness which Hutchings had allowed them. Though the foundation 
work of the great was considerably strengthened by the addition of another 
diapason, the upper work in the diapason chorus remained unchanged j and, 
since the value of upper work is relative to the supporting unison registers, 
the effect of the ensemble was even more unbalanced than before. The design 
of the great represented an attempt to combine the traditional, if abbreviated, 
upper work, as exemplified by the French, with the then current conception 
of a smooth, sonorous foundation which was most consistently developed 
by Hope-Jones. The situation was not helped by letting out the twelfth, 
fifteenth, and V mixture, because the foundation work was unable to absorb 
them, and instead of blending, they stood out as merely loud and shrill. 
The 1 6-foot quintaton was discarded, and in its place a larger-scaled bour- 
don, derived from the pedal, was substituted. The old principal flute was 
replaced by a still larger-scaled gross flute which was devoid of upper partials 



34 The Newberry Memorial Organ 

and windy. The new clarabella was clear and bright. Unfortunately it was 
overshadowed by the other members of the flute choir. The doppel flute was 
cut up to speak on io-inch wind, and what before had been merely a limpid 
tone, became dull and windy and "gross." Finally, as if to allay any fear that 
the flutes would be insignificant, a bold 4-foot doppel flute of the same scale 
as the 8 -foot doppel flute was added under the name of hohlpfeife. 

The gamba was made of tin. Revoiced on 1 0-inch wind, it had an excep- 
tionally incisive tone and prompt speech, and its harmonic development was 
such as to class it with the strings. Under ordinary circumstances such a tone 
would be difficult to blend with diapasons j and, if the diapasons were all 
of the exaggerated, fundamental type, blend would be impossible. This was 
the case at Woolsey Hall, where the 8 -foot and 4-foot gambas marred the 
contrapuntal line instead of defining it. 

The old 16-foot trumpet was moved up to 8 -foot pitch and like the 4-foot 
clarion was voiced on 10 inches. Both spoke the traditional free tone of 
trumpets which blends excellently with a brilliant diapason chorus. In this 
instance the reeds stood out unduly because they were not properly supported 
by the flue work. In addition to the trumpets two tubas of 16-foot and 8-foot 
pitch were derived from a 25-inch reed in the solo box. This was fer se a fine 
rank, and its inclusion in the great was at least consistent with the rest of 
that division. Its effect, however, was to increase the already oppressive 
foundation work of the great organ, and its derivation and position in the 
solo box were questionable in what was otherwise an ununified instrument. 

The swell diapasons remained nominally as before. Actually, however, 
both unison stops were cut up — with the inevitable loss of upper partialsj 
and the mixture was reduced to three ranks. The 8 -foot tibia plena was the 
old great principal flute which with a higher mouth and greater pressure 
added weight if not brilliancy to the swell. The remaining flutes were re- 
voiced as the higher pressure required j and, except for the slightly clouded 
tone of the gedeckt, suffered little from the change. The old swell gamba 
and gamba celeste were replaced by those of the choir, which had three ranks, 
tuned unison, sharp, and double sharp. The small-scaled celeste ranks were 
too cutting to blend with anything more fundamental than gamba tone, and 
were tuned sharp enough to cut through the full swell. The 16-foot posaune 



The Steere Instrument of 191 5 35 

and 8 -foot cornopean stood midway between open trumpet tone and the 
partially closed type of cornopean that became popular about 1920. Their 
character was that of chorus reeds, but their power was inadequate for a 
swell of twenty stops on 1 0-inch wind. The general character of the swell 
remained as before an aggregation rather than a unified chorus. The ensemble 
was rich, in the sense that it included stops of a widely differing character, 
but the voicing showed no disposition to sacrifice the individuality of single 
stops for the sake of an architectonic tonal structure. 

The choir organ remained practically untouched. The three-rank string 
celeste was removed to the swell and no substitute was put in its place. With 
the entire orchestral organ duplexed on the choir, the omission was not seri- 
ous. The 8 -foot flutes were given more wind and cut up with the usual result 
that their foundation tone was increased at the expense of upper partials. 
The 8 -foot diapason, however, retained its bright singing quality. 

The orchestral organ is essentially an American development. It has 
gradually broken off from the solo and choir, leaving the former a division 
built around a chorus of tubas, and the latter either a soft accompanimental 
division or a miniature diapason ensemble. Builders have never attempted 
to give it any ensemble character, and since organists have seldom put 
upon it the demands of contrapuntal music, it has rarely been a disappoint- 
ment. The existence of a body of literature like the Bach chorale preludes 
is sufficient to refute those who deny any place in the organ to solo voices ; 
and if such registers are to be admitted, there is every reason for mak- 
ing them as distinctive as possible. But this is not to say that such voices 
are autonomous in the sense of being fully expressive musical media. They 
are at most imitations of orchestral instruments, and like all organ tones are 
essentially inert and unexpressive. Organ tones — i.e. diapasons and chorus 
reeds — are autonomous by virtue of their blending properties and of the 
fact that they are not derivative from other instruments — names and ter- 
minology to the contrary. Imitative stops are to be condemned only when 
they usurp the place of ensemble voices. The practice of segregating solo 
imitative stops in an orchestral division is a desirable one, for it allows a 
place to these legitimate, if not autonomous, registers, without encumbering 
the other divisions which should be voiced to form distinctive ensembles of 



36 The Newberry Memorial Organ 

organ tone. At the same time the orchestral may be coupled in order to temper 
its stops with the less highly individualized registers of other manuals; and 
if as at Woolsey Hall the orchestral is duplexed to play on two manuals, it 
becomes still more valuable. The Steere orchestral organ consisted of a choir 
of flutes, a choir of strings, and a group of imitative solo reeds. The 8 -foot 
concert flute was a slender scaled harmonic stop of wood yielding a bright 
but not assertive flute tone. With it beat a second harmonic flute to form the 
flute celeste. The choir was completed by a 4-foot chimney flute of wood. The 
two muted violes were fine, mildly voiced strings that would readily blend 
with flutes. The violes d'orchestre, however, were as cutting and intense as 
the voicer could make them, and they blended only with the other strings. 
The cor anglais was the old solo orchestral oboe revoked; the French horn 
was excellent. The oboe was strictly speaking not an imitation of the orches- 
tral instrument at all. Its tone was less spiky and less raucous than was gen- 
erally the case, and it had something of the singing quality of an orchestral 
English horn without spluttering in the bass and without being strident in 
the treble. 

The solo organ, which appeared in 1902 as a group of single unrelated 
stops, was reconstructed so that it formed an ensemble commensurate in 
timbre with that of the great and swell, and capable of dominating the full 
organ. This step was a logical one; and as it was carried out consistently, it 
is interesting to see what the phonon style of voicing leads to when brute 
power is the chief desideratum. The pressure of the entire inclosed division 
was raised to 25 inches. The 8 -foot gross flute, 8 -foot dolce, and 4-foot 
hohlpfeife were retained and revoiced. The old great 8 -foot trumpet was 
moved to this division and voiced with free French trumpet tone. To this was 
added an 8 -foot tibia clausa, which was really another doppel flute; a 2-foot 
piccolo; and a small string choir, consisting of a 16-foot viole, an 8 -foot 
gamba, and an 8-foot gamba celeste. These stops made up the solo portion 
of the division and added considerably to the choirs of fundamental-toned 
flutes and mordant strings in the great and swell. The dominating power of 
the solo lay in the diapason chorus and the reeds. The 1 6-foot diapason was 
made of wood and was both fluty and windy. The 8-foot Jepson diapason 
consisted of two ranks of very large scale, both cut high and leathered. The 



The Steere Instrument of 191 5 37 

stock was very thick and the tone cut through the full organ. The 4-foot 
octave was proportionately scaled and otherwise treated like the unison 
ranks. A smooth unit tuba, composed of ninety-seven pipes and played at 
16-foot, 8 -foot, and 4-foot pitch, completed the inclosed section, and 
blended after the manner of fundamental tones with the diapasons. The 
uninclosed 8 -foot tuba mirabilis was extended from the 20-inch pedal bom- 
bard. This rank dominated the entire organ j indeed it overrode it and was so 
far out of proportion that it could not be gradually led up to. Here again ap- 
peared the idea of a solid phonon ensemble, plus a few extremely brilliant 
registers. Ensemble — even of the phonon variety — was not the ultimate 
principle of tonal design. 

The reductio ad absurdum of high-pressure flue voicing appeared in the 
pedal organ. The flue pipes were not augmented in number, but almost with- 
out exception the pressures were raised and in most instances the pipes were 
cut up. This treatment resulted in an increase of power together with windi- 
ness and forced tone. The intention which prompted this treatment was that 
of creating a pedal organ of stupendous power, and the rule of thumb by 
which it was carried out was the elementary one of increasing the wind supply 
and cutting up the lip — a method which is adequate for fine regulating but 
useless as a corrective for insufficient scaling. Not only did the voicers forget 
that power was being obtained at the expense of timbre and intonation, but 
they seemed not to realize that below the middle of the 1 6-foot octave funda- 
mental tones necessarily become softer and that the power attributed to tones 
in this register actually belongs to their upper partials. Helmholtz assigns 
BBBB with 2 9^3 vibrations in a second as the limit of audibility and dismisses 
tones below 1 6-foot EEE as without musical value. 

The 16-foot CCC of the organ, with 33 vibrations in a second, certainly gives a 
tolerably continuous sensation of drone, but does not allow us to give it a definite 
position in the musical scale. We almost begin to observe the separate pulses of air, 
notwithstanding the regular form of the motion. In the upper half of the 32-foot 
octave, the perception of the separate pulses becomes still clearer, and the continuous 
part of the sensation, which may be compared with a sensation of tone, continually 
weaker, and in the lower half of the 32-foot octave we can scarcely be said to hear 
anything but the individual pulses, or if anything else is really heard, it can only be 



3 8 The Newberry Memorial Organ 

weak upper partial tones, from which the musical tones of stopped pipes are not quite 
free. 

Thus where reference is made to a 32-foot stop of great power, one usually 
finds that the pipes in question are overblown to the point of speaking their 
harmonics and under ordinary conditions very windy. Though it is true that 
differences of scaling are intensively significant in the 32-foot octave, it 
would be more exact to describe the equivalent tonal differences in terms 
of pervasiveness rather than in terms of power. Pure 32-foot tone, however 
soft, will cut through the ensemble of a full organ as a kind of presence 
which is felt more than heard, and — perhaps more than either — thought. 
It seldom happens that the 32-foot octave of a diapason is even. One reason 
why certain notes stand out is that the acoustic conditions of a building 
amplify certain vibrations more than others, and transmit to the auditor 
bodily sensations which are confused with tone. It is related that at the 
Temple Church, London, where the famous Battle of the Organs took place, 
1 684-1 68 8, one of the benchers admired Bishop's 32-foot diapason because 
certain bass pipes "shook the spectacles on his nose." Not infrequently have 
builders owed their good fortune to such accidental circumstances. Further- 
more, the effect of combinational tones is such that even though the result- 
ant may be below the limit of audibility, the tone may be thought by induc- 
tion from either natural or artificial partials or the musical context. Thus 
one may take exception to Helmholtzwhen he denies any musical significance 
to "tones" below 16-foot EEE, since they are capable of being experienced j 
and, when carefully used, are valuable, if limited, means of musical ex- 
pression. 

The new echo organ was located in the basement at the rear of the Hall. 
It spoke out through grills in the floor, and except in the immediate vicinity 
the antiphonal effect was good. The entire division spoke on 1 0-inch wind 
and formed what was really a swell of considerable power. It was duplexed 
to play on both great and solo. The diapason was the old solo tibia, regulated 
to speak on lower pressure. The viole d'amour was the old great stop of the 
same name, though more strictly termed a bell gamba. The dulciana and the 
vox angelica were the Hutchings swell gamba and its celeste, and the trumpet 
the old swell cornopean. Certain of these changes were significant of tonal 



The Steere Instrument of 191 5 39 

ideas which were then current and which are still present in many instru- 
ments but which have been put aside by the best contemporary builders. In 
1902 a cornopean was little more than a large-scale trumpet, whence the 
possibility of employing the old swell cornopean for this new role in the echo. 
The stop was finely voiced, and what before was a good chorus register 
became in its new location with a tremolo and under expression a poignant 
solo reed. It is difficult to believe that any builders prior to 1900 or after 
1925 would term a leathered, high-cut tibia voiced on 22-inch wind a dia- 
pason. The presuppositions which made such a change possible are those 
which underlie the entire school of phonon voicing. 

The Newberry Organ as it was rebuilt by Steere was dedicated on Friday 
evening, February 2, 191 7, at a recital by Professor Jepson. The program 
was: 

1. Bach, Prelude and Fugue in D major. 

Choral. "Schmiicke dich, O Liebe Seele." 

2. Franck, Grande Piece Symphonique, Op. 17. 

Andante serioso, Allegro non troppo e maestoso. 
Andante, Allegro, Andante. 
Grand Choeur. 

3. Barie, Intermezzo. 
Holloway, Duo. 
Gigout, Scherzo. 
Acadelt, Ave Maria. 
Karganoff, Reproche. 
Rebikoff, Feuille d' Album. 

4. Widor, Fifth Organ Symphony, Op. 42. 

I. Allegro vivace. II. Allegro cantabile. V. Toccata. 

It would be unfair to Van Wart and his associates to leave the impression 
that the 1 9 1 5 organ was an inferior one. On the contrary the Company did 
its utmost to make the instrument a masterpiece j and within the limits of the 
style which it set itself, it succeeded. Finer examples of phonon and solo 
voicing could not be found than the leathered diapasons of the great and 
solo and the strings and reeds of the orchestral. The point of the foregoing 
criticism is that the style as such was unsound. It represented a radical break 



40 The Newberry Memorial Organ 

with the classic tradition of organ building, and was therefore bound to prove 
short-lived. Yet while categorically condemning the style, it would be rash 
equally to condemn the men who carried it out. So far from being the caprice 
of a few individuals, the development was one. which extended over a full 
quarter of a century and which was fostered by the majority of American 
builders. Why this extraneous development was more pronounced in America 
than in England and Germany is a subject for a yet unwritten history of 
organ building. It is no small achievement to have participated whole- 
heartedly in the life of one's time. For this accomplishment alone the men 
who conceived and built the 1 9 1 5 instrument deserve much credit. 



The Skinner Specification, 1928 





Great Organ. 


7^ -inch wind 




3*' 


Violone 


Wood- 


-6" wind 


61 Pipes 


16' 


Diapason 


Metal 




61 Pipes 


8' 


Diapason I 


Metal 




61 Pipes 


8' 


Diapason II 


Metal 




61 Pipes 


8' 


Diapason III 


Metal 




61 Pipes 


8' 


Diapason IV 


Metal 




61 Pipes 


5W 


Quint 


Metal 




61 Pipes 


4' 


Principal 


Metal 




61 Pipes 


4' 


Octave 


Metal 




61 Pipes 


3%' 


Tierce 


Metal 




61 Pipes 


2%' 


Twelfth 


Metal 




61 Pipes 


2' 


Fifteenth 


Metal 




61 Pipes 


V 


Chorus Mixture 


Metal 




305 Pipes 


IV 


Harmonics 


Metal 




244 Pipes 


VII 


Cymbal 


Metal 




427 Pipes 


1 6' 


Bourdon 


Wood 




61 Pipes 


8' 


Principal Flute 


Metal 




61 Pipes 


8' 


Claribel Flute 


Wood 




61 Pipes 


8' 


Doppel Flute 


Wood 




61 Pipes 


4' > 


Wald Flute 


Wood 




61 Pipes 


4' 


Hohlpfeife 


Wood 




61 Pipes 


8' 


Gamba 


Metal 




61 Pipes 


8' 


Erzahler 


Metal 




61 Pipes 


16' 


Trombone 


Metal- 


-10" wind 


61 Pipes 


8' 


Tromba 


Metal- 


-10" wind 


61 Pipes 


8' 


Trumpet 


Metal 




61 Pipes 


4' 


Octave Tromba 


Metal- 


-10" wind 


61 Pipes 


4' 


Clarion 


Metal 




73 Pipes 



42 



The Newberry Memorial Organ 
Swell Organ, io-inch wind 



8' 


Diapason 


Metal 


73 Pip es 


8' 


Geigen Diapason 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


4' 


Octave 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


2%' 


Twelfth 


Metal 


6 1 Pipes 


2' 


Flautino 


Metal 


6 1 Pipes 


1%' 


Tierce 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


V 


Cornet 


Metal 


305 Pipes 


V 


Quint Mixture 


Metal 


305 Pipes 


1 6' 


Bourdon 


Wood 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Open Flute 


Wood 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Flute Celeste 


Metal 


134 Pipes 


8' 


Flauto Traverso 


Wood 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Rohrflute 


Wood and Metal 


73 Pipes 


4' 


Flute Triangulaire 


Wood 


73 Pipes 


1 6' 


Gamba 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Gamba 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Voix Celestes 


Metal 


134 Pipes 


8' 


Salicional 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Quintadena 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Aeoline 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Unda Maris 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


4' 


Violina 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


4' 


Unda Maris 


Metal 


122 Pipes 


1 6' 


Posaune 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Cornopean 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Trumpet 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Oboe 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Vox Humana 


Metal — f wind 


61 Pipes 


4' 


Clarion 


Metal 


73 Pipes 




The Skinner Console 



The Skinner Specification, 1928 
Choir Organ. 10-inchwind 



43 



16' 


Dulciana 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Violin Diapason 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Dulciana 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


4' 


Octave 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Flute Harmonique 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Gedeckt 


Wood 


73 Pipes 


4' 


Flauto Traverso 


Wood 


73 Pipes 


2' 


Harmonic Piccolo 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Cello 


Wood 


73 Pipes 


4' 


Viola 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


1 6' 


Fagotto 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Clarinet 


Metal 


61 Pipes 


8' 


Corno d'Amore 


Metal 


73 Pipes 




Solo Organ. 


1 5 -inch wind 




16' 


Diapason 


Wood 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Diapason II 


Metal 


146 Pipes 


4' 


Octave 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


2%' 


Nazard 


Metal 


61 Pipes 


2' 


Piccolo 


Metal 


61 Pipes 


V 


Fourniture 


Metal 


305 Pipes 


8' 


Flauto Mirabilis 


Wood 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Stopped Flute 


Wood 


73 Pipes 


4' 


Hohlpfeife 


Wood 


73 Pipes 


1 6' 


Viole 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Gross Gamba 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Gamba Celeste 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


4' 


Gambette 


Metal 


73 Pipes 



44 


±ne INewberry M 


emorial Urgan 




1 6' 


Ophicleide 


Wood and Metal 








25" wind 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Tuba 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Trumpet 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Orchestral Trombone 


Metal — is" wind 


73 Pipes 


8' 


French Horn 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Heckelphone 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Tuba Mirabilis 


Metal — 25" wind 


73 Pipes 


5Y 3 ' 


Quint Tromba 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


4' 


Tuba Clarion 


Metal 


73 Pipes 




Orchestral Organ. 


10-inch wind 




8' 


Concert Flute 


Wood 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Flute Celeste 


Wood 


61 Pipes 


4' 


Orchestral Flute 


Wood 


73 Pipes 


4' 


Flute a Cheminee 


Wood 


73 Pipes 


2%' 


Nazard 


Metal 


61 Pipes 


l' 


Piccolo 


Metal 


61 Pipes 


1%' 


Tierce 


Metal 


61 Pipes 


iVs 


Larigot 


Metal 


61 Pipes 


Wi' 


Septieme 


Metal 


61 Pipes 


V 


Dulciana Mixture 


Metal 


305 Pipes 


8' 


Viole d'Orchestre 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


First Viole Celeste 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Second Viole Celeste 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Muted Viole 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Muted Celeste 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 


Kleine Erzahler 


Metal 


134 Pipes 


1 6' 


Bassoon 


Metal 


61 Pipes 


8' 


Bassoon 


Metal 


1 2 Pipes 


8' 


Corno di Bassetto 


Metal 


61 Pipes 


8' 


Orchestral Oboe 


Metal 


61 Pipes 


8' 


English Horn 


Metal 


61 Pipes 


8' 


French Horn 


Metal 


61 Pipes 



The Skinner Specification, 1928 
String Organ. 10-inch wind 



45 



8' 


No. 1 Orchestral Strings 


II 


Metal 


146 Pipes 


8' 


No. 2 Orchestral Strings 


II 


Metal 


146 Pipes 


8' 


No. 3 Orchestral Strings 


II 


Metal 


146 Pipes 


8' 


No. 4 Orchestral Strings 


II 


Metal 


146 Pipes 


8' 


No. 1 Muted Strings II 




Metal 


146 Pipes 


8' 


No. 2 Muted Strings II 




Metal 


146 Pipes 


8' 


No. 3 Muted Strings II 




Metal 


146 Pipes 


8' 


No. 4 Muted Strings II 




Metal 


146 Pipes 


IV 


Cornet des Violes 




Metal 


244 Pipes 



Echo Organ. 10-inchwind 



8' 
8' 
8' 


Diapason 
Dulciana 
Vox Angelica 


Metal 
Metal 
Metal 


73 Pipes 
73 Pipes 
73 Pipes 


16' 

8' 

4' 


Bourdon 
Cor de Nuit 
Fernflote 


Wood 
Wood 
Wood 


73 Pipes 
73 Pipes 

73 Pipes 


8' 


Viole d'Amore 


Metal 


73 Pipes 


8' 
8' 

8' 


Oboe-Horn 
Trumpet 
Vox Humana 


Metal 
Metal 
Metal 


73 Pipes 
73 Pipes 
61 Pipes 



64' 

i6'-8' 

32'-i6'-8 / 



Pedal Organ. 6-inch wind 

Gravissima Resultant 32 Notes 
1st Diapason — Octave Wood 44 Pipes 
32' Diapason — 2d Diapa- 
son — Principal Wood and Metal 56 Pipes 



46 



The Newberry Memorial Organ 



1 6' 


Dulciana Metal 






32 Pipes 


4' 


Super Octave Metal 






32 Pipes 


V 


Mixture Metal 






1 60 Pipes 


VI 


Harmonics Metal 






192 Pipes 


32 , -i6-8' 


32' Contra Bourdon — Bour- 
don-Bass Flute (Gt.) Wood 






1 2 Pipes 


i6'-8' 


Gedeckt— Still Gedeckt (Sw.) Wood- 


-10" 


wind 


1 2 Pipes 


4' 


Flute Wood 






32 Pipes 


3 2'-i6 / -8' 


32' Violone — 16' Violone — 
Salicional (Gt.) Wood 






$6 Notes 


1 6' 


Gamba (Sw.) Metal- 


-10" 


wind 


32 Notes 


8' 


Cello II (So.) Metal- 


-15" 


wind 


64 Notes 



32'-i6'-8 / Bombarde — Trombone — Wood and Metal 

Tromba 20" wind 56 Pipes 



1 6-8 -4' Bass Tuba— Tuba— Clarion Wood and Metal 
(So.) 25" wind 



$6 Notes 



16' 

10%' 



Fagotto (Ch.) 

Quint Trombone (Gt.) 



Metal — 10" wind 
Metal — 10" wind 



32 Notes 
32 Notes 



Echo Pedal Organ. 10-inch wind 

16'— 8' Diapason — Octave Wood 

i6'-8' Bourdon— Flute (Ec.) Wood 



44 Pipes 
44 Notes 



The Skinner Specification, 1928 
Couplers Pistons 



47 



Swell to Great 
Choir to Great 
Solo to Great 
Swell to Swell 
Solo to Swell 
Choir to Choir 
Swell to Choir 
Solo to Choir 
Solo to Solo 
Great to Solo 
Swell to Solo 
Choir to Solo 
Great to Pedal 
Swell to Pedal 
Choir to Pedal 
Solo to Pedal 
Echo on — Great off 
Echo on — Solo off 



ers 

i6'-8'-4' 
i6'-8'- 5 y 3 ' 

i6'-8'-4' 

i6'-4' 
8' 

i6'-4' 

8'-4' 
8' 

i6'-4' 

8' 

8' 

8' 

8' 

8'-4' 

z'-sVb 

8'-4' 



12 to Great 
-4" 12 to Swell 
1 2 to Choir 
1 2 to Solo 
5 to Great — Echo 
5 to Solo — Echo 
10 to Pedal 
4 to Couplers 
10 to Generals 
1 Cancel to each of above groups 

1 Combination set 

Accessories 

Crescendo Pedal 

Expression pedals to Swell, Choir, 
Solo, and Orchestral Organs 

2 Reversible Sf orzando Pedals 
4 Reversibles to 8' manual to pedal 

couplers 
4 Pedal to manual combination 

couplers 
Solo organ off Crescendo Pedal 
All swells to swell expression pedal 



Notes 

Pipes— 12,573 

Stops — excluding duplexing and percussions — 166 

Orchestral duplexed on Swell and Choir 

Echo duplexed on Great and Solo 

String playable on all manuals and Pedal 

Chimes playable on all manuals and Pedal 

Harp playable at 8' and 4" pitch on Swell and Choir 



The Skinner Instrument of 1928 

THE rapid development of tonal design in 1925 did not go 
unnoticed at Yale and it was evident that if the excellence 
of the instrument were to be maintained, some recon- 
struction would be necessary. Happily Mr. Truman 
Handy Newberry and Mr. John Stoughton Newberry 
offered to bear the entire expense of the work, and on June 
2, 1928, the University contracted with the Skinner Organ Company, Dor- 
chester, Massachusetts, for rebuilding the Newberry Organ. The revision, 
undertaken only thirteen years after the Steere work was completed, im- 
plied no defects in workmanship on the part of the Steere Company. For an 
instrument of its size, the organ had been remarkably free from mechanical 
trouble, and would have stood without any radical reconstruction for a gen- 
eration. The reason for rebuilding the organ was a musical one. 

Mention has been made of the excellence of the Steere mechanical work. 
In the reconstruction of 1928 the Steere chest work was retained in its en- 
tirety. The new chests, like the old, were of the universal pitman type, with 
the exhaust channeling in the table and the valves mounted directly under 
the pipes. Minor differences appeared in the provision of top boards, screwed 
to the table and scored on the under side, and of independent magnet boxes, 
tubed to the primary chest pneumatics. The great was augmented by two 
new chests j the swell by onej the solo by three j the orchestral by one, built 
with duplex action j and the pedal by three. The string organ was entirely 
new and spoke on a pair of chests controlled by a single magnet box. Out- 
side the swell shades of the swell and solo organs metal-faced sound boards 
were constructed to reflect the tone more directly into the hall, and the old 
tone locks which were caused by the solid panels above the swell and solo 
shades were diminished by the insertion of horizontal shades in place of the 
panels. The old individual-shade swell engines were replaced, except in the 
echo, by engines of the whiffletree type. As the organ now stands, the chests 



5o The Newberry Memorial Organ 

are built up on three levels. On the first stand reservoirs and the main pedal 
chests, including those for the 32-foot diapason, 32-foot bourdon, 32-foot 
violone, and 32-foot bombard j on the second from left to right are the 
swell boxes for the string, the orchestral, and the choir j on the third, ex- 
tending across the center is the open great. At the extreme left on the same 
level, recessed in the wall, is a chamber 22 feet high, 14 feet wide, and 14 
feet deep for the solo, and in the corresponding position at the right is a 
similar chamber for the swell. 

From the arrangement of the organ it is evident that the divisions placed in 
the central chamber enjoy a considerable advantage over the swell and solo 
which, though not crowded, are too far back to be heard at anything like their 
true value. The difficulty was aggravated by the remodeling of the case which 
allowed the great a position practically unobstructed without corresponding 
benefit to the swell and solo, and a dilemma arose from the realization that 
if the swell and solo were brought up to the relative intensities conventionally 
assigned them, the orga,n would be insupportable in the hall. The solution 
of the difficulty took the form of a compromise. The metal sound boards 
were constructed outside the swell and solo boxes, and the pipes in these 
organs were loudened as much as circumstances permitted. The increase in 
volume resulting from these modifications, while not great, was yet signifi- 
cant. On the other hand the unison registers of the great diapason chorus 
were slightly softened} the two trumpets which topped the entire great were 
reserved for the second sforzando piston; but in view of its exceptional 
grandeur no effort was made to diminish the great ensemble as a whole, it 
being thought wise to meet such of the difficulty as remained by discrete 
registration rather than by emasculating so magnificent a chorus. 

Beneath the old relay room a new chamber was constructed, and the major 
part of the intermediate electrical action was placed in one or the other of 
these rooms. In order to retain as much of the Steere action as possible it 
was found expedient to locate all the manual relays in their respective chests, 
whence the circuits are carried to the upper relay room which contains the 
switches governing the floating string organ, switch-controlled stop action, 
combination switches, sforzando and reversible action, the pedal relay with 
its attendant stop switches, and all intermanual and pedal couplers. The 



The Skinner Instrument of 1928 51 

manual-coupler action is wired from multiple contacts under the keys, 
through gang switches to the plates, whence it is distributed to the several 
chests through cutouts which are closed only when the circuit in question is 
needed. Had the organ been an entirely new instrument, all relays would 
have been placed in this room and the amount of wiring greatly reduced. 
Organ builders who pride themselves on consistency and orderliness in wiring 
find rebuilt instruments a cause for aggravation. In this respect the Woolsey 
Hall organ is no exception ; but though the wiring itself is somewhat cir- 
cuitous and complicated, the amount of action in the console is very small 
and the task of controlling the organ is relatively simple. 

The development of combination action is for the most part an American 
achievement. Between the primitive composition pedals found in tracker- 
action organs and the adjustable remote control found in the 1928 Woolsey 
Hall instrument there is an extensive, though rapid, development. Ameri- 
can builders and organists have been prone to overrate the importance of 
such mechanical accessories and often to lavish on pistons funds which should 
have gone into pipes, but once the tonal essentials are provided, there is 
every reason for making the combination action as effective as possible. As 
against the absolute combination system, in which the stop, registers are 
visibly affected, there are the blind system which is still found in England 
and was present in both the Hutchings and Steere instruments in Woolsey 
Hall, and the ventil system which is almost universal in France. Both these 
systems allow a certain freedom in setting one combination while another 
one is in use, but it is significant that they are commonly championed by men 
who have little or no acquaintance with adjustable pistons and who fail to 
see that with a liberal number of pistons and a small amount of foresight on 
the part of the organist the absolute system will do far more than any of its 
alternatives. 

The absolute combination system is generally set in one of two ways: 
either the piston is held depressed while the registers are moved against the 
resistance of a jack to make up the combination desired j or, the combination 
being drawn, a setter piston is depressed after which the particular combina- 
tion piston is also depressed. The function of the setter piston in the latter 
case is to silence the power pneumatics which actuate the tracers by means 



$2 The Newberry Memorial Organ 

of the jacks, and to bring into play the setter pneumatics which determine the 
position — on or off — of the jacks themselves. This system is preferable 
because any existing position of the registers may be immediately set on a 
piston without regard to the previous combination. In the Woolsey Hall 
action the adjustable mechanism is placed in the lower relay room, and only 
the on and off magnets and pneumatics are built into the console ; thus the 
tracer, instead of being directly attached to the register, closes one of two 
circuits which in turn control the console on and off pneumatics. If the jack 
is set so that the power pneumatic throws the tracer forward, the on circuit 
is closed ; if the jack is in the opposite position, the off circuit is completed. 
Thus the number of contacts is reduced to a minimum — namely two per reg- 
ister — and electrical complication is accordingly diminished. The Woolsey 
Hall console contains a further refinement in combination action. Attached 
to each register are two circuit breakers which arrest the impulses to the on 
and off console magnets when the registers already occupy the position corre- 
sponding to the piston setting. Thus if ten stops are drawn and a piston is set 
to bring on two additional ones, the on console pneumatics to the ten remain 
idle and only the two are actuated. Since one circuit or the other must be 
broken before the register reaches an extreme position, each register is fitted 
with a pivoted spring which completes the motion after the combination 
impulse is arrested. In a large console the economy in wear and noise is 
considerable. 

Prefatory to an analysis of the 1928 instrument, a brief account of Skin- 
ner's earlier work and a further discussion of the classic style of voicing may 
be relevant as showing the presuppositions of the undertaking. 

There is implicit in the classic tradition as developed by Silbermann, 
Cavaille-Coll, Schultz, and Willis, a principle that perfect ensemble re- 
quires an 8-foot foundation which has itself a rich harmonic development 
apart from independent mixture work. Only when the unison registers 
possess the bright, slightly mordant quality that comes from upper partials 
is it possible to blend with them the brilliant mixture ranks which complete 
a well-balanced tonal gamut. It is an explicit recognition of this principle 
that distinguishes the best American building since 1925 from that of 
earlier periods. Lest it be thought that this statement of changing tonal con- 



The Skinner Instrument of 1928 53 

ceptions is exaggerated, it is well to consider that what really determines a 
builder's style is not the random lip-service paid to one ideal or another, but 
the finished instrument as it stands in its case. Ever since The Art of Organ 
Building appeared in 1905, it has been proper to speak favorably of mix- 
ture work, but — for all its terminology — the discussion on the part of writers 
has been more literary than scientific, and the actual diapason chorus, as 
voiced by most American builders, has been far from satisfying. Nor is it 
right for a builder to claim as representative what is in fact an exceptional 
piece of work. The poorest builder may occasionally produce a very fair 
ensemble if pressed enough by an intelligent organist and aided by favorable 
acoustics ; his merit as a builder, however, depends on his habitual achieve- 
ments. Responsibility in tonal matters is one which the builder can seldom 
shift to musicians j for with his technical knowledge of voicing and a reason- 
able amount of tact he can almost invariably carry his point. Moreover, an 
established builder can afford to refuse any contracts which compromise his 
artistic integrity j and where one finds such a builder sacrificing the essentials 
of ensemble to trivial solo stops, one can but regard him either as ignorant 
of what makes for a fine ensemble or as without the self-respect of a fine 
craftsman. In view of these considerations it is no exaggeration to say that 
but recently has America come to an explicit recognition of the principle 
which underlies the classic tradition. 

An adequate account of the types of ensemble developed by American 
voicers would make an extensive historical document, but a just and suffi- 
ciently detailed criticism of their work would lie without the limits of this 
particular sketch. The foregoing criticism of Hutchings and Steere is ap- 
plicable — mutatis mutandis — to most of the builders of their respective 
periods, but a criticism of Skinner's work in 1928 applies to but a few of his 
contemporaries. 

In 1898 Ernest M. Skinner visited England and made the acquaintance of 
Father Willis. Willis welcomed him as a fellow craftsman and gave him 
access to the London factory and St. George's Hall, Liverpool, which con- 
tains the organ that made, and still lends prestige to, the famous English 
firm. Skinner was quick to see the value of high-pressure reeds, but the 
character of the diapason ensemble did not impress him. Returning to 



54 The Newberry Memorial Organ 

America, he devoted himself to the development of reed voicing and me- 
chanics. It has been unfortunate for American organists that Skinner did 
not emphasize the diapason ensemble after his first visit to England, for with 
his energy and widespread influence he could have changed the tonal char- 
acter of American organ building for the past two decades. Skinner was not 
himself an organist and thought of organ music in orchestral terms j and 
American organists, belonging to no well-defined school, and having none- 
too-sound musical standards and no technical knowledge of tone, were unable 
to influence builders in the direction of classical voicing. It resulted that 
Skinner developed on the one hand chorus reeds of great sonority and 
smoothness and on the other solo and orchestral stops of marked individu- 
ality. Moreover, he fostered a type of diapason which was voiced on high 
pressure, cut high, and sometimes leathered, and which had a powerful, 
smooth, rolling tone but no upper partials of any appreciable power beyond 
the first harmonic. This type of diapason tone was for two decades prevalent 
in American voicing rooms and in an exaggerated form dominated the 
Steere work of 191 5. 

It was not until 1924 that Skinner again visited England. He was greeted 
on this occasion by Henry Willis III, who welcomed him as Father Willis 
had done before. After hearing the organs of Westminster Cathedral and 
Christ Church, Westminster Bridge Road, Skinner realized, if at first only 
partially, the true function and value of mixtures, but he still held out for 
the high-pressure, high-cut type of diapason on the ground that it alone was 
adequate to support high-pressure reeds. For a period of two years follow- 
ing this trip to England there appeared in Skinner's work mixtures scaled 
and voiced in a more brilliant manner, but the rest of his tonal structure 
remained as before. It has been a common criticism of his work in this brief 
period that the mixtures are shrill. Though much of this criticism has arisen 
as antagonism to ideas new and unfamiliar, it is not entirely unfounded, and 
the fault lies not in the mixtures themselves but in the unison diapason 
chorus on which they rest. Instead of growing out of the foundation work 
as elements in a continuous series they are arbitrarily imposed upon it, with 
the result that the ear tends to experience such tones as distinct non-unison 
intervals rather than as integral components of the 8 -foot foundation work. 



The Skinner Instrument of 1928 55 

This period of transition lasted until 1927 when G. Donald Harrison of 
London joined the Skinner staff. As a student in Dulwich College he had 
become acquainted with organ literature and organ playing, and for thirteen 
years had been schooled in the classic tradition as a friend and assistant to 
Henry Willis III. He had seen the flower of that tradition in the Liverpool 
Cathedral instrument, and had studied French tonal design in the work of 
Cavaille-Coll. In choosing Harrison to assist him, Skinner definitely com- 
mitted himself to the tradition within which the great builders of England, 
France, and Germany have developed their characteristic styles. The first 
large instruments to result from this collaboration were those at the Univer- 
sities of Oberlin (the Conservatory), Michigan, Princeton, and Chicago. 

The vocabulary of those who discuss tone is eclectic, to say the least, and 
never is it more unreliable than as characterizing diapasons. The only exact 
sense in which tone can be described is by reference to its harmonic structure, 
which to the physicist is a matter of periodic vibrations and of primary and 
secondary partials. There is no objection to the use of literary analogies in 
the description of tone, provided they have a definite and consistent reference 
to its harmonic composition ; but when distinctions of intensity are confused 
with those of timbre and when neither are maintained with constancy, there 
is little profit in discussion. One finds the term "bold" for example used 
now to indicate mere intensity and again to indicate a marked harmonic 
development, and one finds expressions such as "rich fundamental character" 
which are plainly self-contradictory, since a tone is "rich" when it contains 
many pronounced upper partials and fundamental when it is devoid of them. 

The objective of the classic style of voicing is an ensemble that is both 
rich and clear. The task of building up such an ensemble requires a thorough 
acquaintance with the subtleties of voicing and an unlimited amount of 
patience. Since the raison d'etre of the style is its corporate character which 
depends on the mutual relations of the individual voices, questions of bal- 
ance and blend are of more importance than they are in orchestral and 
phonon voicing where individuality at the expense of blend is the criterion 
of tone. Not only must the voicer possess the most exact knowledge of scales 
and methods of voicing but having designed and voiced an instrument with 
all the theoretical knowledge at his command, he must then adapt it to the 



56 The Newberry Memorial Organ 

peculiar acoustic conditions under which it speaks. Since acoustics modify the 
timbre of pipes as well as their strength, the work of finishing such an in- 
strument may prove more than that of dynamic equalization. In such an 
ensemble each component is allowed as much individuality as is consistent 
with that of the others. Consistency requires that any tonal combination 
should first strike the ear as a unity. An acute ear will analyze a tone into its 
elements, but this is a deliberate process of rationalization and of secondary 
aesthetic importance. Thus viewed the task of the voicer becomes a kind of 
tonal calculus, governed — in Leibnitzian terms — by the principle of corn- 
possibility. 

The aesthetic priority of the classic ensemble lies in the fact that it alone 
is fit for the performance of contrapuntal music. Whatever enables the ear 
to follow the polyphonic structure of organ music should take precedence 
over other alternatives. It is significant that Bach, the greatest of the classi- 
cists, devoted a great part of his life to organ composition, while the roman- 
ticists almost without exception ignored the organ. Both schools realized 
that organ tone, regardless of its timbre and intensity, is intrinsically inert 
and unexpressive,* and since romanticism is most concerned with the sensory, 
expressive attributes of music, while classicism attaches more importance to 
form and structure — attributes which are of the very essence of contrapuntal 
writing — the attitude of each school toward the organ is easy to understand. 
Widor, writing of the organ in his Technique of the Modern Orchestra, says, 
"The essential qualities of the style are defined by the words -purity, clarity, 
and precision." For such a style the classic ensemble is preeminently adapted. 
This relationship Helmholtz has analyzed in psycho-physical terms in his 
Sensations of Tone. 

In themselves they [wide, stopped organ pipes] are very soft and mild, dull in the 
low notes and very tuneful in the upper. They are quite unsuited, however, for com- 
binations of harmony according to modern musical theory. ... In general the im- 
pression made on the ear by any dissonant interval, except the second, differs very little 
from that made by consonances, and as a consequence the harmony loses its character 

* The development of the swell box has not radically altered this characteristic; yet many 
musicians look for the time when the organ will share the expressive powers of the orchestra. 
Even Berlioz, to whom the organ was anathema, wrote sanguinely in his Treatise on Instrumenta- 
tion of a swell box constructed by Erard in 1827. 



The Skinner Instrument of 1928 57 

and the hearer has no perception of the difference of intervals. If polyphonic com- 
positions containing the harshest and most venturesome dissonances are played upon 
wide, stopped organ pipes, the whole is uniformly soft and harmonious, and for that 
very reason also indefinite, wearisome and weak, without character and energy. . . . 
The open organ pipes afford a favorable means of meeting the harmonic require- 
ments of polyphonic music, and consequently form the frincifal stops. They make 
the lower partials distinctly audible, the wide pipes up to the third, the narrow ones 
up to the sixth partial tone. These give a very distinct feeling for the purity of the 
consonant intervals, enabling us to distinguish clearly between consonance and dis- 
sonance, and preventing the unavoidable but weak dissonances that result from the 
higher upper partials in the imperfect consonances, from becoming too marked, but 
at the same time not allowing the hearer's appreciation of the progression of the parts 
to be disturbed by a multitude of loud accessory tones. In this respect the organ has an 
advantage over other instruments, as the player is able to mix and alter the qualities 
of tone at pleasure, and make them suitable to the character of the piece he has to per- 
form. 

The most obvious characteristic of this type of ensemble is a liberal pro- 
vision of mixtures. These stops, consisting of an aggregation of high-pitched 
ranks which correspond to the harmonics of the unison foundation work, 
have been a subject of controversy in England and America for the last 
thirty years. There has been much theoretical discussion of the propriety 
and desirability of reenforcing the natural harmonic series, and there have 
not been wanting those who have opposed mixtures on the ground that their 
inclusion implies a defect in Nature. Equally speculative arguments have 
been urged in their favor. An adequate discussion of the psycho-physical 
relations involved would be too technical and too lengthy for this study. 
However, the inclusion of mixture work is sanctioned on solely musical 
grounds by the fact that mixtures, when properly constructed, sound well 
in the ensemble — indeed seem indispensable to those who know their true 
use — and it suffices to mention the place which they occupy in the perform- 
ance of organ literature. 

Though the most important role of mixtures is that in the performance 
of contrapuntal music, they are also requisite in a perfectly blended ensemble 
where they serve to unite the unison diapasons and the chorus reeds. How- 
ever classic may be the treatment of the unison diapasons and however rich 



5 8 The Newberry Memorial Organ 

the harmonic development of the reeds, there will always remain a hiatus 
between the two choirs where mixture work is lacking. The omission becomes 
more apparent in building up the ensemble.- The build-up may proceed 
evenly as far as the fifteenth, but directly the reeds are drawn there is an 
abrupt change in timbre instead of a gradual transition to an increasingly 
brilliant ensemble. Because of their crucial position in the tonal build-up, 
mixtures require rather exacting treatment both in design and regulation. 
So thorough was the reaction in America against mixture work during the 
first quarter of the century that builders who are now called on to supply 
them again are frequently embarrassed by their lack of knowledge. Shrill- 
ness is as difficult to avoid as ineffectualness, and formulas for pipes, unac- 
companied by long experience, will never produce the elusive attribute of 
balance. This conception of a lucid, well-knit ensemble now and again pro- 
vokes the charge of lacking variety since it does not admit of tones having 
an exaggerated fundamental or an exaggerated harmonic development, 
either of which would be destructive of tonal unity. The conception, how- 
ever, does not preclude a degree of differentiation between the choirs of the 
several divisions j and if the cycle through which American design has passed 
signifies anything, it is that "progress" in tonal matters involves the pro- 
vision of two or more distinctive subsidiary ensembles which are subject to 
the unity of the full organ. Mixture work can no more be dispensed with in 
an architectonic structure of tone than can those architectural devices which 
make possible the transition from a rectangular tower to its octagonal spire. 
A further ground for commitment to the classic style of voicing is the 
fact that such tone is complex and interesting while fundamental tone is 
relatively simple and monotonous. The preceding quotation from Helm- 
holtz deals with contrapuntal music, but the distinction can be maintained 
in homophonic music as well. The untrained ear may not distinguish one set 
of partials from another and may not even be aware of their existence, but 
if it is naturally sensitive to tone, it will respond to a bright diapason more 
readily than to a tibia or bourdon ; and since the organ lacks the subtlety of 
expression which other instruments possess, there is all the more reason for 
making its inert tone as rich and varied as its composite nature will permit. 
Unchecked, this striving for individuality results in the kind of orchestral 



The Skinner Instrument of 1928 59 

strings and reeds that make up theater organs. Any complex aesthetic me- 
dium requires the subordination of its parts to the whole, and in organ build- 
ing blend is the unifying principle of tonal design j without it, the instru- 
ment is no more than a chaotic group of whistles. The homophonic passages 
in the fantasias and toccatas of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries are 
clearly conceived for a brilliant registration. Though a kind of grandiose 
dignity is available from a phonon ensemble, the incisive, clear-cut definition 
of line which is essential to this homophonic style is so clouded and obscured 
that what should be an exhilarating bravura passage becomes a ponderous 
and oppressive piece of musical jargon. 

The treatment of trebles and that of mixture work have gone hand in 
hand j their intensities have varied directly, and it was to be expected that 
ears unaccustomed to upper work would find its classic treatment "shrill" 
and "harsh." The human voice and all instruments except those like the 
piano which have a separate string or resonating body for each note neces- 
sarily become more intense and brilliant as they ascend in pitch. The ear 
has become so accustomed to this connection that it unconsciously associates 
brilliancy with the upper register of any musical medium, regardless of its 
character in the middle register j and so far from being an indifferent or 
objectionable connection, it has become an essential category of musical ex- 
pression. Brilliancy is not necessarily identified with loudness or volume ; 
a bowed instrument in its high register may be played softly, but its tone 
will become richer in upper partials and therefore more brilliant as it ascends. 
To argue that the connection is a material limitation of orchestral instru- 
ments and one to be avoided in the organ and piano is to make arbitrary as- 
sumptions and to ignore the history of musical usage. 

The 1928 reconstruction of the Newberry Organ has been carried out in 
the light of these canons, and it is because they share with organ literature 
a sure aesthetic foundation that the instrument has a claim to distinction in 
point of excellence as well as in point of size. 

The great organ is the outstanding division of the Skinner instrument. 
Thus the term which dates from the seventeenth century and which has too 
often been a misnomer assumes again its original meaning. Though the 
design of the great is calculated to make it the corner stone of the tonal 



60 The Newberry Memorial Organ 

structure, the position of the great chests and the eleventh-hour modifications 
of the case gave it a prominence that was not anticipated. The unpredictable 
acoustic factors which have always to be reckoned with and which add an 
element of risk to organ building are responsible for the unconventional 
relations between the great and the other divisions, but it would be a small- 
minded criticism that demanded the sacrifice of so magnificent an ensemble 
for the sake of preserving the exact proportions which convention has laid 
down. 

After the foregoing criticism of the Hutchings and Steere instruments 
and the preceding discussion of the classic ensemble it is not necessary to 
speak at length of the 1928 great diapason chorus. The alternatives are 
clearly defined by Wedgwood, who, though not an extremist, favors an 
essentially fundamental style of voicing. 

It is not inconceivable (sic) that the modern demand for depth in diapason tone 
is practically responsible for the lack of blend in much of our mixture work. An altera- 
tion of the foundation will necessarily affect the superstructure. It is not of course to 
be inferred from these remarks that stringy or slotted diapasons are in any way 
preferable to the full-toned variety, for even if they do build up better, it is only 
because much of their foundation is sacrificed to brilliance.* 

In any descriptive account of sound there is room for misunderstanding 
through vague terminology, and in the absence of mathematical analyses of 
tone or of empirical examples the issue can be defined no further in this ac- 
count. There is little doubt, however, but that Wedgwood's conception is in 
essence opposed to the one which is here termed "classic" and which is main- 
tained as being sanctioned by the very nature of the organ as a musical me- 
dium. 

The revision of the great diapason chorus is even more extensive than a 
comparison of specifications shows. Of the former chorus only the 16-foot 
diapason, 4-foot octave, and 2%-foot twelfth remain, and the new unison 
ranks represent a radically different type of tone. To these have been added 
a 32-foot violone which, though of very restricted value, creates a distinct 
sense of breadth and grandeur when pitted against the mixture work; a 
5*/3-foot quint and a 3Vs-foot tierce strengthening the 16-foot harmonic 

* Wedgwood, Dictionary of Organ Stops, p. 79. 



The Skinner Instrument of 1928 61 

series j an additional 4-foot register under the name of principal ; and top- 
ping the entire division, sixteen ranks of mixture work, comprising a V 
quint mixture, a IV harmonics, and a VII cymbal. The voicing of all these 
registers is such that the ensemble is at once flexible enough to permit blend- 
ing with other tonal groups and as an independent chorus self -sufficient and 
well-knit. The great flue work speaks on 7^ -inch wind; had the bore of the 
old chests permitted, this would have been reduced to 5 inches. 

The character of the great diapason chorus necessarily limits the variety of 
timbre of the unison registers. It is commonly held that four 8 -foot great 
diapasons should include one rank of the extreme fundamental type and one 
of the geigen variety, and there are those who would defend such a scheme in 
face of any objection. Those, however, who prize a fine ensemble above other 
considerations and who realize that certain types of tone are incompatible, 
do not pretend to make chorus diapasons "representative." A further con- 
sequence of this treatment is the fact that though the diapasons are not 
markedly contrasted, each does add appreciably to the others where more 
fundamental timbres with an equivalent gradation would have neutralized 
each other to a much greater degree. The dynamic gradation extends from 
the piano No. 4 to the forte No. 1, fortissimo effects being reserved to the 
upper work and reeds. The slender-scaled No. 4 is the richest of the group, 
but in comparison with the gamba it withstands the accustomed charge of be- 
ing a string. The No. 1 and No. 2 differ in strength more than in timbre. No. 
3 is more fundamental than the others, yet a comparison with the old 4-foot 
octave or 16-foot diapason proves it to be by no means dull. The 4-foot 
principal is bright and strong; its timbre is that of No. 4; its strength, be- 
tween that of No. 1 and No. 2. The 4-foot octave is a Hutchings stop. While 
not without value in the ensemble, it seems colorless and inadequate in com- 
parison with the principal and the unison diapasons. The old 1 6-foot diapa- 
son is open to the same objections; both stops belong to a different school of 
voicing, but the high cut-up precluded a remedy for the situation. 

The 5V3-foot quint and 3 1 /5-foot tierce are both dulcianas. The tierce is 
of slender scale and somewhat more stringy than the broader-toned quint. As 
members of the 16-foot harmonic series they hold a place in the build-up 
of the flue chorus, and in combination with the bourdon and doppel flute 



62 The Newberry Memorial Organ 

they form a 1 6-foot cornet mixture. The value, if not the precise treatment, 
of these stops is that of the independent mutations of "grosse taille" found 
in the French bombard division. 

The 2%-foot twelfth is another unassertive stop of the 1902 vintage. It 
is audible in the build-up until the mixtures come on, but thereafter is com- 
pletely lost. In judging these three members of the original Hutchings 
chorus it is only fair to say that their faults are those of limitation rather 
than offense. It is with the 2-foot superoctave that the great organ begins to 
be brilliant. The V-chorus mixture is designed to reenforce the intervals 
above 8-foot pitch and it accordingly contains an octave, a twelfth, a fif- 
teenth, a nineteenth, and a twenty-second throughout the greater part of its 
compass. As distinct from the 2-foot superoctave and IV harmonics which 
are both keen registers the chorus mixture is bright and silvery. Yet it counts 
in the full great as a forte register and as an indispensable bond between the 
flue work and the reeds. The great diapason chorus is topped by a IV har- 
monics which contains a i 1 /? -foot septieme, and a i-foot octavin. This daz- 
zling stop completes the harmonic gamut. It adds to the flue chorus an intense 
but never oppressive eclat which binds together all four tonal families into 
a clear, well-knit ensemble. The VII cymbal serves so many purposes within 
a short range and changes its character so many times in the process that it 
seems to have no identity. A repeating mixture in which all the octaves are 
composed alike, it begins by extending to the thirty-sixth — a full octave 
above the IV harmonics — and ends by reenforcing the 32-foot harmonic 
series. The conventional objection to the abruptness and frequency of the 
breaks is not serious because in the full great they are negligible. In the first 
octave it tops the IV harmonics splendidly, and in the second reenforces itj 
in the middle register it partially duplicates the chorus mixture, and at the 
top falls back to the subunison harmonic series. Since this mixture is super- 
imposed on the other two, it cannot continue its character throughout the en- 
tire keyboard. Its distinctive role is therefore that in the lower two octaves 
where it does top the entire great, and its value above that point is one of 
reenforcement. 

Though the variety of timbres in the great organ is limited, the scope for 
registration is not. Indeed, the more highly differentiated the timbres, the 



The Skinner Instrument of 1928 63 

more restricted their mutual relations j and conversely, the more commensu- 
rate the timbres, the more freely they combine. The paradox of the situation 
disappears when one considers that certain combinations of highly individu- 
alized tones are, as musical terms, nonexistent. A dull gross flute and a rich 
gamba will not blend ; in combination the two stops are worthless ; and as 
long as builders forget the difference between mathematical combinations 
and musical values, it is idle to talk of registration. The only two stops which 
stand apart are the old doppel flute and hohlpfeife; and since with these 
exceptions it is relatively impossible to draw a bad combination, balance more 
than blend will determine the choice of stops. Such freedom and flexibility 
in registration is no small matter to the exacting student of organ literature. 
Thus, by excluding the No. 1 from the diapason chorus, what is distinctly 
an English ideal is made to approximate the corresponding French concep- 
tion j while by the exclusion of both No. 1 and No. 2 and by the introduction 
of flutes, the transformation becomes complete. And if to these are added 
the 8 -foot and 4-foot trumpets, the result is an augmented replica of the 
intense and heady seventeenth-century French ensemble. Again the four uni- 
son diapasons possess all the dignity that the most austere churchman may re- 
quire 5 and the great to fifteenth allows the conservative organist a lucid 
registration, while the eighteen ranks of mixtures and mutations permit 
varying degrees of brilliance to varying degrees of talent. Having once 
heard voicing of this type, one can understand the pathetic efforts of organ- 
ists who have alternately loudened and softened their mixture work until the 
pipes have stopped speaking in a futile effort to make it blend with a dull 
and colorless foundation. 

The flutes of the great are with one exception old stops. The Steere gross 
flute has been replaced by a new principal flute — an harmonic flute, scaled 
after Cavaille-Coll. Seven-and-a-half -inch wind is higher than the stop re- 
quires, but here, as with the diapason chorus, the old chest work obliged the 
builders to employ higher pressure than is their wont. For this reason the 
stop resembles a spitzflute more than the ordinary harmonic register. The 
clarabella remains untouched — a clear, cantabile voice without suggestion of 
hoot or thickness. The wald flute is of much the same order, though too 
strong to serve as an octave to the claribel flute. The doppel flute and hohlp- 



64 The Newberry Memorial Organ 

f eif e belong to another era of organ building. Like the bourdon they have a 
certain value for special effects, but neither of these stops is an integral part 
of the great flue chorus. 

The new erzahler, a derivative of the gemshorn family, is distinguished 
by the prominence of its first harmonic. It is a pleasing register with good 
blending properties. The old gamba now finds itself in better company. If 
before it stood out against the diapasons, it is now a stop to combine with 
them, and it is no longer requisitioned as a makeshift to bind together the 
unison and upper work of the diapason chorus. 

The choir of trombas on 10-inch wind is entirely new. The three stops are 
independent and differ slightly in scaling and voicing. The unison is a 
mellow reed standing between a keen trumpet and a smooth tuba. The double 
is of the same timbre but more subdued j the octave is voiced with slightly 
more edge. Played alone, they might be thought to include flue workj added 
to the full diapason chorus, they enter without abruptness as members of a 
continuous tonal series. The 8 -foot trumpet and the 4-foot clarion are the 
old stops revoiced. At close range and unaccompanied they have considerable 
unevenness and sting, but thanks to the acoustics of Woolsey Hall and to 
the character of the diapason chorus, they add to the great organ an eclat 
which is rare in American organ building. 

It has already been intimated that the swell organ is somewhat less telling 
in relation to the great than convention would lead one to expect. It was a 
grave error that in 19 15 the swell and solo were located outside the central 
chamber j had space required, the orchestral and choir should have been rele- 
gated to these positions. Unfortunately the 1928 rebuild was not extensive 
enough to correct these mistakes, and the only alternative was that of letting 
out the swell to the limit and keeping the great in check. Within the organ case 
this division is very powerful and not far removed from the great in strength, 
but the combined obstruction of the swell shades and the case panels reduce 
the volume in the hall to about one-third its real intensity. Had the entire 
division been new in 1928, various changes would have been made in the 
specification of the division as well as in the position of its chamber. The 
chorus reeds would doubtless have been voiced on 1 5-inch wind, and a com- 
plete choir of horns provided in addition to a complete choir of trumpets. It 



The Skinner Instrument of 1928 65 

would have then been possible to lower the flue work to 7-inch wind and in 
certain instances to increase scales. That this was not done in 1928 was due 
to the layout of the blowing plant, the arrangement of the swell chests, and 
other material considerations. 

The swell diapason chorus is new except for the basses of the two unison 
registers. The 8 -foot diapason is moderately bright but more fundamental 
than any of the great diapasons. The harmonic development of the 8 -foot 
geigen principal is nearly that of a gamba, but the prime is sufficiently pro- 
nounced to place the stop in the diapason family. The timbre of the 4-foot 
principal lies between that of the two unison stops j its strength is sufficient 
to tell above the foundation work. The twelfth is kept subdued to form a 
sesquialtera with the seventeenth which as an independent mutation is voiced 
to temper the softer flutes and strings. Both ranks, however, are audible 
when added to the unisons and octave. These mutations are invaluable in 
building up synthetic timbres over a unison string register. Low-pressure, 
free-reed tone can be so closely imitated that the archaic sound of seven- 
teenth-century French music is recreated. The 2-foot flautino is a misnomer. 
In the swell box it is a brilliant superoctave, and in the hall it preserves its 
relative intensity. The V cornet is a dolce register, slightly stringy, and so 
proportioned that it may be used either alone or with the strings and flutes. 
The quint mixture is voiced to bind together the diapason and reed choruses. 
The timbre has a rich mordant quality which adds to either the reeds or 
diapasons a richness which has long distinguished the best English and 
French voicing. 

Until quite recently it was common in America to base the swell ensemble 
on a 1 6-foot bourdon. The result was seldom happy because a double of this 
character which was adequate to provide the requisite foundation was also 
dull enough to obscure the leading of voices. The 1 6-foot bourdon in ques- 
tion is properly a lieblich gedeckt and hence a solo register. The scaling is 
moderate except in the bass where it is borrowed to the pedal. In this role it 
provides an admirable pedal stop which is at once soft and pervasive and 
clear. The treble register has some brightness which relieves it of monotony 
and makes it valuable as a solo register at either the unison or the octave. 
The 8-foot traverse flute like the bourdon was in the Hutchings instrument. 



66 The Newberry Memorial Organ 

The stock is wood and the construction harmonic from i-foot C; the basses 
are all open pipes. The scaling is conservative and the tone rather slight, 
but the timbre as such is good. It is a diminutive example of concert flute 
tone in which the unison-sounding harmonics predominate and of which the 
solo flauto mirabilis is a more brilliant example. The rohrflute is new from 
tenor C up. The bass is that of the old 8-foot wooden bourdon. The individu- 
ality of the stop and its freedom from dulness make it blend more readily 
with strings and diapasons than do ordinary stopped diapasons or flutes. 

The open flute is not a new stop but the principal flute which Hutchings 
placed in the great and which Steere moved to the swell and renamed tibia. 
This latest change in nomenclature is a commendable effort to keep up ap- 
pearances, but the tone remains that of a large-scale gross flute. Of this type 
of tone it is an excellent example, and it serves admirably for purposes of 
"filling in." Those, however, who value clarity, will regard it with distrust. 

The strings in the swell were in the original Hutchings instrument with 
the single exception of the 4-foot unda maris. The 8-foot gamba and the two 
ranks which supplement it to form the voix celestes, though made in 1902, 
are examples of "modern" string voicing. The small-scale tin pipes speaking 
on 1 0-inch pressure yield an intense yet not acid tone, which is incisive when 
the unison rank speaks alone and pervasive as well if the markedly dissonant 
sharp ranks are also drawn. The double-rank celeste extends downward to 
tenor Cj beyond this point there is but one celeste rank which is tuned to 
imitate a pronounced cello vibrato. If dissonant ranks are to be admitted in 
the organ, there is no ground for the exclusion of double-rank celestes which 
add materially to the fulness of imitative string tones. Tastes may differ 
as to the degree of dissonance desirable, but the role of celestes is essentially 
irrational, and hence incapable of justification or condemnation if once al- 
lowed. 

The 8 -foot salicional is not far removed from those found in early Ameri- 
can low-pressure work. Because of its liberal scale the stop is but one remove 
from diapason-dulciana tone, and it accordingly blends with the flutes. The 
timbre of the 16-foot gamba is of the same variety though somewhat more 
pervasive. In this respect it makes a fitting double for the swell flue work; 
its intensity, however, is inadequate to support so powerful a division. The 



The Skinner Instrument of 1928 67 

violina should be classed with the twelfth and seventeenth for purposes of 
registration. It is a delicate stop, soft enough to accompany the unda maris 
on the one hand and on the other sufficiently assertive to cut through the 
salicional. The quintadena is a stop which has enjoyed an undeserved popu- 
larity among American builders. Essentially a "sport," it has usurped space 
and funds needed for chorus registers. Equally eccentric timbres can be 
compounded from independent mutations which are serviceable for other 
purposes as well. The two unda maris stops are finely voiced registers with 
a slightly stringy intonation, tuned to beat somewhat faster than the slow 
flute celeste. The independent 4-foot ranks are by no means essential. 

The reed foundation of the swell is but recently becoming established in 
America and is still the object of considerable suspicion and misconception. 
In a two-manual organ it is natural that one division should run to diapasons 
and the other to reeds since as types of tone they are the most radically 
different. Morever the effect of a brilliant reed chorus in a swell box is a 
thing unique in the world of music and one without which organ composition 
would be the poorer. Organ builders have occasionally held that in large 
instruments each division should contain only stops of one tonal family — 
namely, diapasons, flutes, strings, or reeds. They forget that the ear would 
soon tire of listening to such extreme, untempered types of tone. Complexity 
is needed to sustain interest, and though coupling would afford some variety, 
it would be a too cumbersome and restricted means of blending. Yet ex- 
perience shows that instruments in which divisions are differentiated by 
mere power are dull affairs. The solution lies between these two positions, 
and the principle of differentiation is that of dominance — not by exclusion, 
but by emphasis. Thus in the best building each division will contain stops 
from all four families, but the diapasons will predominate in the great, the 
trumpet reeds in the swell, and the tubas in the solo. The choir organ, though 
never omitted where there are more than two manuals, has always in one 
sense or another been "in the background." The provision of independent 
echo, string, orchestral, and bombard divisions are special cases which occur 
only in very large instruments. 

The swell chorus reeds are entirely new with the exception of the 1 6-foot 
posaune which has been revoiced with new tongues and new shallots. The 



68 The Newberry Memorial Organ 

scaling of this stop is liberal for a double reed in the swell, where the sub- 
foundation is properly characterized more by incisive timbre than by weight. 
Though distinctly not a trumpet, it has too much edge to be classed with the 
smooth cornopeans, and since its harmonic development is somewhat ir- 
regular because of slight discrepancies in scaling between the old parts and 
the new, the tone has a richness that one associates with old low-pressure 
reed work. In spite of these imperfections the stop is as good an example of 
revoicing as may commonly be found. Played at 8 -foot pitch, it serves as 
a poignant solo register where the 8 -foot cornopean or 8 -foot trumpet would 
be too intense. The timbre of the cornopean is not the smooth horn tone 
which has been so much in favor the last decade, but a full tone in which 
smoothness is replaced by poignancy. The clarion is an octave to the corno- 
pean. Being an octave higher and by that much removed from the range in 
which horn tone properly lies, it is to be classed as a trumpet. With the 
posaune and cornopean it forms a well-balanced choir of unimitative chorus 
reeds which distinctly modify but do not dominate the swell organ. 

It rests with the French trumpet to insure the reed timbre of the swell en- 
semble. This stop is a brilliant, imitative, orchestral trumpet, harmonic from 
2-foot F#, and eclatant throughout. It dominates the entire swell and is so 
rich in harmonics that the 4-foot clarion becomes negligible directly the 
trumpet is drawn. When the term "French" is applied to chorus reeds, the 
connotation is that of a tone with an extreme harmonic development and a 
metallic clang which to English and American ears is unpleasant. The stop 
in question is surely not lacking in brilliance and keenness, but it is just 
enough held in check to insure a sense of precision and reserve. 

In any estimate of this swell organ it is necessary to take into account the 
location of the swell chests. It would have been possible by means of in- 
creased pressures and additional stops to build up a swell ensemble that 
would rival the great in power — witness the Steere solo organ on 25-inch 
wind — but it would not have been possible to make the swell commensurate 
with the great in point of proximity. The tone from the swell enters the hall 
at a 45 angle through the lateral case grills which are 10 feet in front of 
the swell shades, while the tone from the great is obstructed only by a row 
of well-spaced pipes and is projected directly into the hall by the back wall 



The Skinner Instrument of 1928 69 

and the parabolic ceiling. Any one of these factors which go to make the 
swell sound distant might have been partially counteracted, but their com- 
bined effect is enough to muffle any division. Though power in organ tone is 
a function of pipes and their acoustic surroundings, its diminution by one 
factor can seldom be compensated for by modifying the other. Consider a 
pipe on 1 0-inch wind in a swell box. If the pressure is reduced to 5 inches 
and the shades removed, the tone loses in intensity and becomes more proxi- 
mate. If the pressure is raised to 15 inches and the pipe obstructed by case 
work in addition to the shades, the tone becomes more intense but also more 
distant. In all three cases the auditory effects are different, and the differences 
though small, are yet musically significant. The problem is one which con- 
scientious builders have constantly to meet — especially in America where the 
architectural provisions for organs are more inadequate than in Europe. 
From this criticism one should not understand that the swell is a failure j on 
the contrary, as an independent division it is well balanced, and in power 
it is impressive to an ear that has not heard the great. The task of reconstruct- 
ing the swell was a difficult one, for the old chamber, the old chests, and 
much of the old pipe work had to be utilized to produce an entirely different 
type of ensemble. The builders have done a fine piece of work in the face 
of these obstacles, and the resulting swell is one which will prove adequate 
to any organist who will register the great with care. 

The modifications of the choir organ, like those in other divisions, are 
designed to make it a corporate chorus in lieu of a random grouping of single 
voices. In point of power the choir is too miniature to be commensurate with 
the great, but its timbre and its build-up align it with the rest of the organ. 
The new diapason is a bright though mezzoforte geigen of much the same 
character as the No. 4 on the great, and the octave is scaled and voiced to take 
its duly prominent place in the choir ensemble. The two dulcianas remain 
as before. Both are fine examples of a tone which has been present in organ 
building for nearly two centuries. The 1 6-foot dulciana provides an adequate 
double for the choir flue work; and though not directly borrowed to the 
pedal, can frequently be coupled to provide an inclosed bass where the open 
and larger-scaled pedal dulciana would be too inflexible. The old melodia 
has been replaced by an 8 -foot harmonic flute, which in conjunction with the 



yo The Newberry Memorial Organ 

4-flute traverse flute and the 2-foot harmonic piccolo form a choir which is 
almost identical with the famous one which Cavaille-Coll installed for the 
first time in the positif at St. Denis in 1841. The flutes are supplemented by 
the gedeckt which provides greater fulness and which has a slight harmonic 
development to relieve it of dulness. The old cello was unfortunately re- 
tained} it is neither a good imitation nor an even-toned stop. The 4-foot 
viola is a very mild string that may be used as an octave dulciana or as a 
harmonic to temper the unison flutes. 

No attempt was made to incorporate the reeds in the choir ensemble. Both 
the old reeds were revoiced and a new corno d'amore added. The fagotto 
which is borrowed to the pedal, is rather powerful in relation to the rest of 
the division, but it is a finely voiced example of an unimitative reed which 
is devoid of raucousness and sufficiently full to suggest horn tone. It serves 
as a valuable solo stop in any of its registers. Of essentially the same family 
is the new corno d'amore, which is technically known as a capped oboe. It is 
very smooth with a distinctly fluty character and in the tenor octave it 
approaches a miniature French horn. It is one of those superb solo stops 
which in a measure justify the eccentric tonal development of the past 
quarter century. Where such reeds are allowed to dominate, their effect is 
disastrous to the classic ensemble ; but once the proper chorus reeds are pro- 
vided, they are invaluable solo registers. The revoiced clarinet is more fluty 
and less intense than more recent examples. As such it affords a pleasing 
contrast to the assertive and woody corno di bassetto of the orchestral organ. 

The choir organ is the least changed of all divisions except the echo. In 
spite of its modified diapason foundation, it still retains the character of an 
accompanimental division} and as such, when taken in conjunction with the 
supplementary orchestral flutes and strings, it possesses a wealth of tonal 
material. Yet though falling short of the ideal choir organ which may be 
pitted against the swell or great, it is an improvement over the former divi- 
sion in that it derives from the orchestral enough upper work to give it some 
architectonic structure. Had the entire choir organ been new, the builders 
would doubtless have provided at least one chorus reed of the trumpet 
variety. One would gladly sacrifice the clarinet for such a stop, but as matters 
stand that change would require new pipes, and even in large instruments 
there are material limitations. 



The Skinner Instrument of 1928 71 

More significant than any other division by way of historical comparison 
is the solo organ which contains enough of the old pipe work to indicate the 
difference between an ensemble built for ponderous fundamental tone and 
one voiced for brilliance and clarity. The 16-foot diapason, 8-foot diapason, 
4-foot hohlpfeife, and 16-foot ophicleide, are typical examples of phonon 
voicing, and though the dominant timbre of the solo organ is that of the tuba 
choir, these registers still stand apart because of their pronounced funda- 
mental character. 

The treatment of the solo diapason chorus differs in one essential respect 
from that of the great — namely, the old foundation work has been retained 
and new upper work has been added to it. The pipes of the old 16-foot 
diapason remain but they are no longer reckoned as members of the diapason 
chorus. The tone is that of a double clarabella. The two-rank unison diapa- 
son has been regulated on 1 5-inch wind and brightened as much as the cut-up 
permitted. It remains, however, a pronounced phonon register, and it remains 
also a fine example of that kind of tone. Its limitations appear when the 
new upper work is added, for the resulting ensemble is not a tonal unity 
but an aggregation of intervals. Without a foundation which has a natural 
harmonic development the artificial harmonics of the upper work will in- 
evitably seem shrill and strident. 

The situation is one which will repay study on the part of those who con- 
template rebuilding an old instrument. It will generally be found a mistake 
to retain old pipe work which is voiced in a style radically different from the 
one contemplated} and if funds are limited, a proper diapason foundation 
should invariably be provided before solo stops are taken into account. 
Purists may cavil that such a course was not followed in the solo as well as in 
the great at Woolsey Hall. Historically-minded critics will condone the pro- 
cedure as illustrating an important principle of tonal design. 

The 4-foot octave is much like the great principal. Speaking on 1 5-inch 
pressure, it exceeds the latter in real intensity and harmonic development, 
but the solo swell box makes it somewhat weaker in strength though equally 
rich in timbre. Organists who see in a 4-foot octave only another register to 
be drawn in full organ are but one remove from those who would exclude 
upper work altogether. These pedestrian-minded musicians miss one of the 



72 The Newberry Memorial Organ 

keenest pleasures that an organ can give. Accustomed to think of registration 
in terms of marked contrast, they are insensible to the less obvious value 
which high-pitched ranks have as a means of heightening the intensity of a 
voice without destroying its tonal identity. Thus in the registration of a 
fugue the dynamic augmentation can be effectively yet not obtrusively ac- 
complished by the skilful use of richly voiced upper work, so that while the 
intensity of the ensemble will at every point parallel the course of the com- 
position, the mind will not be distracted by abrupt and irrelevant changes in 
dynamics or timbre from the structural development which is of first, though 
not sole, importance in contrapuntal music. 

The V f ourniture is the most brilliant mixture in the organ. Though ex- 
ceeded in strength and gamut by the uninclosed great mixtures, it tops the 
solo organ with or without reeds as none of the other mixtures do their re- 
spective divisions. The 2-foot piccolo is properly termed a flageolet. It is 
the old stop regulated on 15-inch wind. Lacking the quickness of speech 
which characterizes a true piccolo, it is too fluty and too weak to stand as a 
superoctave to the solo diapasons. Neither shortcoming is serious, since there 
are piccolos elsewhere in the organ and since the interval of the fifteenth 
appears in the f ourniture after the first break. 

The 8-foot flauto mirabilis is the only new member of the solo flute choir. 
It replaces the old gross flute except in the bass octave where the old pipes 
are retained. The contrast between the new harmonic register and the 16- 
foot double diapason — which is no more than a gross flute — is as obvious as 
it is significant. Unfortunately some of the individuality and verve of the 
stop is lost outside the case. Its harmonic composition enables it to be drawn 
with any of the solo reeds to strengthen their fundamental, or with the 
diapasons without destroying the clearness of those choirs. On the other 
hand it may itself be tempered by the assertive, if windy, 4-foot hohlpf eif e, 
the 2% -foot stopped nazard, or the 2-foot piccolo. The 8 -foot tibia clausa 
is the old wooden flute. It has been strengthened enough to force out the 
quint and the consequent tone is nearly that of a quintadena. The 4-foot 
hohlpf eife is another banal wooden flute which would have been omitted in 
an entirely new division. Neither of these stops is valuable as a solo register, 



The Skinner Instrument of 1928 73 

and both cloud other voices rather than enliven them. The 2% -foot nazard 
is a small-scaled rohrflute. 

The 16-foot viole is the old stop regulated on 15-inch wind. Its speech is 
slightly tardy, but the tone which is of the duller string variety is firm and 
substantial whether alone or in combination. When the string organ is 
played from the solo, the stop is available to provide a 1 6-foot foundation. 
The two gambas are new. Their scales are double those of the swell gambas 
in the middle register, and their tone accordingly broader and less intense. 
The 4-foot gambette, like the 16-foot viole, is useful to fill a gap in the 
string organ. 

The reed section of the solo is the basis of that division, and with the 
exception of the heckelphone and the French horn, the reeds are all chorus 
stops. The heckelphone, a member of the oboe family, is characterized by 
a spluttering attack which gives it a value for comic effects without destroying 
its blending properties. The French horn is a typical Skinner stop, somewhat 
attenuated both in strength and character by the remote location of the pipes. 

For the subfoundation of the reed chorus the old 25-inch tuba has been 
employed. It speaks from the pedal as before at 16-foot, 8 -foot, and 4-foot 
pitch, but on the manual it now draws at 16-foot pitch only. Consistent 
with the phonon character of the old solo, the tone is ponderous rather than 
brilliant. As a double to the existing choir of brasses, it has sufficient ring; but 
were the unison and octave stops derived from the same rank, the chorus 
would have been dull and phlegmatic. The solo is the one place where mildly 
fundamental toned stops may be introduced, and the ophicleide in question 
represents the maximum development in the direction of phonon reed 
voicing which can be considered sound. The new 8 -foot tuba is a much 
cleaner, more ringing register. The tone is round but bright 3 clear, but not 
keen like a trumpet. This is due to the relative prominence of the unison 
harmonics and the absence of strong tierce partials. Of much the same order 
is the 4-foot tuba clarion which is voiced to top the entire inclosed reed 
chorus rather than the tubas alone. Its tone is slightly less round than that 
of the unison tuba and in the same degree it approaches trumpet tone. The 
character of the 8 -foot trumpet lies between that of the cornopean and that 



74 The Newberry Memorial Organ 

of the swell French trumpet. It is a good imitative register, though not a 
dominating stop in a solo organ of such proportions. 

The 8 -foot orchestral trombone is an extreme development of trumpet 
tone. In the 8 -foot octave it has the blare of a trombone played fortissimo; 
in the upper registers it has the acuteness of an intense orchestral oboe. 
Though the stop is too highly individualized to stand with a chorus of tubas, 
it can be used with the full reed chorus without undue prominence. Indeed 
its harmonic development is so great that against the other reeds it sounds 
like a 4-foot clarion. The 5V3~foot quint tromba was made from the old 8- 
foot trumpet. When added to the three inclosed tubas, it tells appreciably 
as an invigorating mordant harmonic, but in the full solo it is not assertive. 
The uninclosed tuba mirabilis speaks on 20-inch wind. Those who expect a 
tuba mirabilis to come on with a deafening clang will be disappointed in this 
stop, for like every other chorus register in the organ it is conceived as part 
of an ensemble and voiced to occupy a definitive position in the tonal 
build-up. The contrast in treatment between this tuba and the 191 5 stop is 
as significant as any which might be drawn j it is the difference between an 
aggregation of stops and an ordered design of musical voices. 

It is singular that those who have most staunchly upheld orchestral voic- 
ing on grounds of "color" have overlooked the value of mixtures to that end. 
It needs no physicist to show that tonal color and upper partials are closely 
associated. When contrapuntal music is charged with being dull, the com- 
mon implication is that it lacks sensuous values j and the implication, if not the 
charge, is generally true when the medium is a piano or contemporary Ameri- 
can organ. But if one has heard such music played on an eighteenth-century 
harpsichord or organ, it is evident that however the technical forms of ex- 
pression may change, the sensuous properties of the ear remain essentially 
constant. The treatment of the orchestral division illustrates again the cycle 
which has guided the course of tonal design. The Steere orchestral stops 
have been retained in their entirety, and to them have been added two new 
solo registers, a V mixture, and a set of mutations. The upper work serves 
the dual purpose of tempering the old solo stops and of providing a top for 
the choir organ which the entire orchestral division is designed to supple- 
ment. To historically-minded organists who are aware of the role which 



The Skinner Instrument of 1928 75 

mutations played in the seventeenth-century literature of France and Ger- 
many, the introduction of these stops in American instruments is a most 
commendable step. Audsley urged their importance with more success than 
attended most of his enthusiasms and more recently visiting French organ- 
ists have aroused further interest in mutations by treating them not only as 
archaic registers but at the same time as timbres valuable for music of any 
school. These mutations of the orchestral organ are subdued, but in com- 
bination with unison stops — especially with flutes — they tell very appreci- 
ably. The piccolo is harmonic from middle C; the septieme is a stringy 
dulcianaj the nazard, tierce, and larigot are small-scale rohrflutes. Taken 
together with the 4-foot chimney flute, they create the illusion of an 8 -foot 
tone j in smaller combinations they make possible all manner of synthetic 
timbres which afford a contrast — now subtle and now marked — to more 
stereotyped tonalities. Unlike the chorus mixtures in other divisions of the 
organ, the dulciana mixture is not voiced to top its division. It is a piano 
register, voiced for effects more delicate and more shimmering than even 
those of the mutations. 

The four celestes are widely varied. The flute is broad and smooth in spite 
of its harmonic trebles , the tenuous kleine erzahler is invaluable for subtle 
accompanimental registration, where a retiring but none the less distinctive 
timbre is required. The muted viole celeste is a somber stop, large enough 
in scale to blend with other than string tones ; and, unlike most string tones, 
not readily satiating. The III orchestral viole celeste is an extreme example 
of keen string voicing, and accordingly has to be used with care. The tone 
is too highly individualized to blend with chorus voices, and in consequence 
it clouds an ensemble rather than enriches it. In its own right, however, it 
is a fine stop. 

The analogy between the vibrato of a string orchestra and that of string 
organ pipes is not as clear as may appear. The speed of the orchestral vibrato 
and its variation in pitch are not necessarily correlated j it is possible to in- 
crease either variant without the other. In the case of organ pipes the dis- 
sonance of a vibrato is a direct function of its speed, and in all but the high 
register the tolerable limit of dissonance is reached long before the vibrato 
becomes too rapid. Moreover the orchestral vibrato consists of a variation of 



76 The Newberry Memorial Organ 

pitch whereas the vibrato of organ pipes is a beat between two or more dis- 
sonant tones. It should not be forgotten that all expression on the part of 
orchestral instruments is more subtle than that of the organ, but on the other 
hand organists should not overlook the unique mode of expression which 
they possess in the regular beat of a two-rank celeste. That a compound — i.e. 
irregular — set of beats is musically valid is proved by the string orchestra, 
and three-rank celestes are equally valid in the organ, provided the demands 
of consonance are met. It is just here that the dilemma occurs because organ- 
ists who try to emulate the vibrato of the orchestra demand a beat which 
entails too much dissonance. Resort is frequently had to the tremolo as a way 
out of the difficulty, but this is at best a makeshift. When a tremolo is made 
to affect celeste ranks, it sets up a disturbance consisting of a variation in 
pitch superimposed on the existing beats of the natural celeste. The difference 
in effect between such an ensemble and a group of stringed instruments is 
difficult to define because in both cases there is variation in the pitch of the 
individual constituents and there are beats caused by their mutual inter- 
ference. The fact remains, however, that the two effects are different and that 
the mechanics of the organ together with the demands of consonance pre- 
vent organists from achieving a truly orchestral vibrato. As in most such 
issues, the wise position is that of treating the organ not as a counterpart of 
the orchestra but as an autonomous instrument. 

The orchestral bassoon is unified to play at 16-foot and 8-foot pitch. It 
is the only unified manual rank in the entire organ. The stop is ordinarily 
comparable to a heckelphone which it resembles in a spluttering attack, but 
the present example stands nearer a fagotto which has a less pronounced 
attack and greater fulness of tone. Of the other old orchestral reeds the 
French horn and corno di bassetto have been put on the voicing machine 
but not radically altered. Both are excellent examples of their respective 
families and the central position of the orchestral organ enables them to be 
heard at their true value. The corno di bassetto is a large-scale clarinet with 
a strong woody tone and a minimum of raucousness in the bass. Though 
considerably different in construction the French horn in the orchestral is 
not markedly different in effect from that in the solo. The former by virtue 
of its slightly larger scale and thicker stock and advantageous position is 



The Skinner Instrument of 1928 77 

somewhat fuller in tone; the latter is regulated to give the least suggestion 
of brassiness. Both stops have the characteristic blurb of the actual instru- 
ment, a quality which has made the instrument so "effective" and so popular 
in spite of being a defect in the orchestral instrument. It is not the first time 
that organ builders have reproduced impediments of the orchestra. In a 
large organ the French horn is very properly included as a solo stop; in 
small instruments, however, its inclusion is the mark of an unsound, and 
withal, provincial design. The English horn, which first appeared as the 
Hutchings orchestral oboe, has unfortunately been retained. The oboe re- 
mains untouched. Though some may regard it as too extreme, all must admit 
its distinction as a feat of reed voicing. 

The orchestral bells have been removed and the old harp replaced by a 
new one. 

The relation of the orchestral division to the rest of the organ is one to 
which even a purist can scarcely object. Its presence usurps nothing save an 
enviable position in the center of the organ, and its flutes and upper work add 
materially to mezzoforte swell and choir combinations. In its own right as a 
solo division, the choice of stops is excellent and the provision of mutations 
endows it with a variety of timbres which until recently have been rare out- 
side France and Germany. 

The development of the string organ is even more an American achieve- 
ment than that of the orchestral. The string organ is an outgrowth of the 
orchestral just as it in turn was an outgrowth of the choir and solo, and the 
Newberry Organ has exemplified this changing design from 1902 to 1928. 
Previous to the time when Hutchings built the original instrument at Wool- 
sey Hall, the harmonic beard was in very limited use, and except in the work 
of a few men like Thynne and Hope-Jones a gamba was little more than a 
dulciana. By 1902, however, string voicing was definitely established and 
Hutchings provided strings in the great, swell, and choir. The Steere or- 
chestral division contained five ranks of pronounced imitative strings which 
were grouped to form a choir within the orchestral organ. The latest step 
in the segregation of this tonal family appears in the 1928 string organ 
which contains nothing but strings and which is available on all four manuals 
and pedal. The five couplers affecting the string are divided between the 



78 



The Newberry Memorial Organ 



five clavier groups of stops — i.e. string on pedal with pedal stops j string on 
great with great stops, etc. — and each coupler is affected by the corresponding 
set of pistons. The action is wired so that the string organ is also subject to 
the couplers affecting the manual from which it is being played. The division 
contains twenty ranks of pipes, four of them composing a mixture, and the 
rest divided in pairs to form celestes. It is not possible to separate a unison 
from its celeste at the console, and there are accordingly four knobs for the 
muted ranks and four for the keen orchestral violes. The two groups are 
sharply differentiated so that to build up a gradual string crescendo it is 
necessary to use stops in other divisions of the organ. The muted violes in- 
clude a slender-scaled dulcet, a suave, slow-beating unda maris, and two in- 
termediate pairs which differ slightly in timbre and in beat. In the other 
group there is a keen dulcet which is the most cutting though not the loudest 
string in the entire organ, and three pairs of medium-scaled violes which are 
all rich in harmonics but which have fundamentals of varying strength. The 
mixture is voiced to top this latter group. 

Such a tonal palette will delight all but the most ascetic purist. Thanks to 
the coupling facilities which permit the string to be played from any manual, 
an indefinite number of combinations and contrasts with other divisions is 
possible. It is true that the Hutchings specification contained strings enough 
for the demands of organ literature and that the present string organ is not 
an essential but a luxury ; but since it does not usurp the place of chorus reg- 
isters, it is a welcome extension of the tonal resources of the traditional organ. 

The task of building an adequate pedal organ is relatively a formidable 
one in any instrument, and where a fairly satisfactory pedal organ already 
exists, funds for rebuilding are generally spent to better advantage on other 
divisions. In pursuance of such a policy a few new stops were added to the 
pedal at Woolsey Hall, but most of the old ranks were retained and some of 
them revoiced. In the case of the two diapasons and the bourdon this revoic- 
ing consisted in building down the upper lips and lowering the pressure — 
i.e. in reverting in a measure to the cut-up and pressure on which the pipes 
spoke prior to the Steere work of 191 5. What precise relation the tone bears 
to that of the earlier periods is now impossible to determine, but except for 
certain offset trebles the pipes are generally less windy and freer in intona- 



The Skinner Instrument of 1928 79 

tion than before. In the case of certain low pipes their peculiar acoustic sur- 
roundings produce tones which vary in strength in different parts of the hall. 
The new manual tonal work makes felt more than ever the need for a metal 
second diapason but this was one of the points where economy had to be prac- 
ticed. It was possible, however, to substitute for the 8-foot treble of this rank 
the metal bass of the old choir diapason and this helps appreciably in building 
up the timbre of the pedal ensemble. The 16-foot portion of the violone 
lacks the richness appropriate to a pedal organ of these dimensions but the 
lack is partially compensated for by the two new pedal mixtures which need 
no further justification after what has been said about the role of upper work. 
The VI harmonics is a mezzoforte register, containing a flat twenty-first 
and yielding a rich mordant tone. The forte V mixture is made up of unisons 
and quints, and as far as the old voicing permits, binds together the flue work 
and the reeds. The 8 -foot still gedeckt is a useful extension of the old 16- 
foot gedeckt, and the string ensemble makes that division available from 
the pedal while leaving all four manuals free for other purposes. 

The three 32-foot flue stops are adequate for all the demands which the 
manual flue work may make upon them; the bourdon is soft enough in 
the bass octave for piano registration j the violone is adequate where richness 
and incisiveness are required, and the diapason supplies breadth and power 
to the full diapason chorus. 

Soft reed tone is represented on the pedal by the revoiced choir fagotto. 
The old 25-inch solo tuba has been retained as a pedal rank, playable at 16- 
foot, 8-foot, and 4-foot pitch. This is potentially a fortissimo register, but 
being regulated to balance the tuba choir of the solo organ and being placed 
in the remote solo box, it actually comes through at no more than a forte 
intensity. In the preceding account of the Steere pedal the exceptional power 
of the bombard was noted. This rank owed its power less to the pressure, 
which was only 20-inch, than to the abnormally large scale of the wooden 
bodies which measure 27 X 27 inches at CCCC. The failure of such 
a stop to blend with the rest of the pedal is still apparent in spite of the new 
mixture work. In its former condition the stop blotted out the rest of the 
pedal organ by its sheer power j and by way of counteracting this obtrusive- 
ness, the pipes have been softened on the tongue. The resulting tone is no 



8o 



The Newberry Memorial Organ 



longer the unruly sound that it was before, but it is now devoid of adequate 
harmonic development. The relation which this stop bears to an ideal bom- 
bard is essentially that of the old and the new great ensembles. Though the 
treatment of this rank represents a compromise, the builders are to be com- 
mended for their apportionment of funds. The stop is by no means bad, and 
had they remedied the situation by providing new metal bodies, some of the 
more essential manual chorus registers would have been omitted. 

In place of the conventional 10%-foot bourdon or diapason a 10%-foot 
quint tromba is derived from the double reed on the great. In conjunction 
with the 1 6-foot pedal trombone this yields a resultant which is far more 
effective than the combination which it replaces and which approximates the 
tone of a 32-foot bombard. 

The foregoing criticism of the different instruments of Woolsey Hall 
implies a set of tonal principles which are as definitive as they are exacting. 
Concerning the principles themselves, it is unlikely that those who find their 
present justification unconvincing will be moved to accept them by any other 
theoretical persuasion. Only intimate acquaintance with instruments which 
exemplify these classic ideals will win over skeptics, and it is significant that 
such acquaintance more often than not does result in a radical and permanent 
change of mind. To those who find the present criticism too severe and in- 
flexible it may be replied that nothing short of an exacting critical attitude 
can counteract the shoddy, indiscriminate enthusiasm with which the organ 
is all too commonly regarded.* 

The work of reconstructing the organ was completed during the summer 
of 1929. The inaugural recital was given by Professor Jepson on December 
6. The program follows: 

* This is especially true in America where the organ is represented in musicology by a bare 
half-dozen volumes. There is much material in the short articles which constantly appear in com- 
mercial and semi-commercial publications; but until this is interpreted in critical fashion there 
is no assurance that its occasional excellence is more than a passing enthusiasm. In this respect the 
Yale School of Music is fortunate in the possession of a growing collection of literature about 
the organ in addition to its library of organ music. This collection which already includes standard 
English and American works in the field and which it is hoped will eventually include French 
and German authors, should provide an incentive to scholarship comparable to that of the New- 
berry Organ in the field of applied music. 



The Skinner Instrument of 1928 



81 



Franck Grande Piece Symphonique, Op. 17 

Andante serioso — Allegro non troppo e maestoso 
Andante — Allegro — Andante 
Grand Choeur 

Jepson Nocturne from the Third Sonata 

Bach Passacaglia and Fugue 

Choral Prelude. Have mercy Lord, my sin forgive. 

Vierne Tempo di scherzo ma non troppo vivo from the Fifth Organ Symphony, 
Op. 47 

Howells Psalm Prelude, Op. 32, No. 3. Yea, though I walk through the valley of 
the shadow of death I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me: Thy 
rod and Thy staff they comfort me. 

Dupre Suite Bretonne, Op. 21 
II. The Spinner 

Borodin Two Transcriptions 
At the Convent 
Revery 

Widor Finale from the Seventh Organ Symphony, Op. 42 

When high-pressure voicing became common about 1900, American 
building struck off at a tangent which led to the development of a funda- 
mental, phonon diapason chorus and a set of highly individualized solo stops. 
For a full quarter of a century the majority of American builders followed 
one or both of these eccentric tendencies and let fall into neglect the tradi- 
tion which they had inherited from England and the Continent. Though 
this digression was at bottom unsound, it was not without profit, for it en- 
riched the tonal structure of the organ through the invention of new solo 
stops and brought to light considerable knowledge about the speech of pipes. 
Thus the change which is now taking place in certain quarters is no mere 
reaction nor yet another blind enthusiasm. It implies a realization, based on 
long experience, that the phonon and orchestral styles of voicing are in- 
defensible when allowed to dominate the instrument ; it implies a recognition 
that imitative orchestral voices are admissible and valuable when sub- 
ordinated to the chorus work; it implies a sober return to the great tradition 



82 The Newberry Memorial Organ 

after which Silbermann, Schultz, Cavaille-Coll, and Willis have fashioned 
the masterpieces which have made the organ a respected instrument among 
musicians. It is gratifying that Messers. Skinner and Harrison have com- 
mitted the Skinner Company to the classic tradition. With their past ex- 
perience in mechanics and voicing and their present regard for sound princi- 
ples of design, they occupy an enviable position in the world of organ 
building. Yale University possesses in the Newberry Organ an instrument 
of the first order, and in the faculty of music men competent to give it the 
employment it deserves. 



DATE DUE 




ML594 .N3 N3 1930 



Fr 3 5002 02024 6612 

Flint, Edward W. 

The Newberry Memorial Organ at Yale Univ 



ML 594 . N3 N3 1930 
Flint, Edward W. 

The Newberry Memorial Orge- 
at Yale University 



Mmh 

ML 594 . N3 N3 1930 

Flint, Edward W. 

The Newberry Memorial Org? 
at Yale University